I’ve been brave. I’ve completely defaced my negatives, taking the plunge to move on to the next, irreversible step (which was terrifying - I mean what happened if I made a huge mistake, there’s no ‘undo’ button in this situation). However it’s been worth the sleepless nights. After a days of tests, I’ve come out with a print that I’m really happy with and I think works well.
Now, after another four hours in the darkroom, I have a 16x20 print that I can colour. This stage is as exciting as it is slow. The temptation is to colour like you would a painting but the dyes just won’t work like that. You have to build up the layers painfully slowly (I mean over days if not weeks) and it’s all too easy to go too far. Still, that’s all part of the process.
It’s strange to get to this point on an image I’ve been playing with for almost a year! On the one hand it’s a relief to finally see it completed and on the other, I’m almost sick of looking at and thinking about it. Doesn’t stop me for coming back for more though.
So with this image in its final stages I’m able to start looking forward to the next photo and once again I can feel the excitement that comes with a new idea. For so long I’ve put the focus of my practice on the theory and writing, but now I get to the fun part. Now I get to immerse myself in the practical, hands on, stage. For a while I thought I’d lost the enthusiasm for this project, the months and months of writing, researching and talking about it had sapped my initial buzz, but now I’m in the darkroom and getting creative again, I’m just as enthused about it — actually probably more so — than I was right back at the start.