It’s not often you get to take a family portrait just before the baby decides to be born. But above all, it is not often that you are photographed with a camera of more than one square meter.
We work in a very large format. The camera is called Bertha, and it has a bellows reach of around four meters. It’s also capable of reaching a magnification of up to 3:1.
With our proven reversal process, which we have for both black and white and color, we reverse the negative photographic paper, thus obtaining a unique direct positive.
The light set to illuminate the scene, considering the very low sensitivity of the photographic paper and the required draw, is equipped with flash generators for 9000 w/s.
Our job is very complicated, even just correcting the framing requires a considerable effort, then you never know how things will go until you see the final result. It rarely happens that you get a photograph wrong, and yet…
We had done all our tests, but something got out of our control. After about three hours of work, the final development gives us an overexposed photograph. We can’t understand why.
Throwing away a square meter of silver gelatin leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.
Cristina, who is carrying the baby in her womb, is tired.
After the initial disappointment and examining every detail, we realize that the error is due to the change in the bellows draft due to a change of shot. A small variation of 50cm!!!
We decide to take the shot again. We closed the aperture, one and a third stops, and we started again with the choreography. It takes another two hours to take care of all the steps. Cristina and Mattia, the future parents, are with us in the darkroom during the development phases with our gigantic tank.
We’re finally here. This time, everything seems to be going well.
Here it is: the final development with a brush gives us the complete shot, a truly spectacular result, a well-executed team effort.
But there’s more”.” The biggest surprise would come later, with Achille, 3.5kg, healthy and beautiful as the sun. Who knows, maybe he was disturbed by the flashes?
About the Author
Davide Rossi is a fine art photographer based in Italy. He has twenty years of photographic experimentation behind him, driving his passion. As well as working as a professional photographer, he runs courses and workshops in film photography including working in the darkroom and making wet prints. You can find out more about Davide on his website and follow his work on Facebook. This article was also published here and shared with permission.