New York, walking and cigarettes.

    I didn’t smoke once while out in New York but after 2.5 days of walking unknown lands, my feet felt like crushing a pack. The goal was to shoot a bunch of folk, like a crazy amount of bodies and  I kind of did that but not to the degree I imagined. My eyes were swept up by the common and uncommon. New York is dope but some scenes were typical and made it tough to adjust my lens. I’d love to document that shit one day. The trendy commoners of West Village and their skeletons. 

    It may seem cliched to announce that magic exists on the streets of Brooklyn but it really does exist. The observant eye will notice not only cultural shifts from block to block but, how self sustaining each part of the city is with it’s bodegas and variety of shops, schools and churches. I’m from a small town in comparison and bits and pieces of our make-up made me wish we were as capable when it comes to under-powering big box reliability. Toledo tries, tho. 

    Yo. I met Ricky Powell. Google the God.

    I also provided a train full of people with a brief lesson on medium format cameras, the difference between 35mm and 120mm film, and why I chose to stick with analog tech. Several people thanked me while exiting the train. I’ve got to thank the inquisitive woman and her kid for sparking that moment. Thanks 

    I’d like to point out the camera culture that exist among film shooters and camera enthusiasts. I separate the two because, as film shooters, you identify very easy with another who engages in the practice. Digital users can pass each other on the street all day, every day, and unless the person themselves has some appeal, they just don’t stop and talk. Camera enthusiasts will recognize an expensive or rare piece of kit. They dream of perfect camera set-ups and understanding different techniques and look forward to shooting with more than the stock zoom lens. Being stopped by both on the street felt great! Conversing about a sport but the sport itself was photography and what you shoot and how many hours you’ve spent in the game today. I know little about athletics and have never successfully talked to anyone about it and it honestly feels lonely being unable to relate to the average male or female over a universal medium. In New York and Chicago I connected with strangers over things I fully related to. I enjoyed that more than shooting.

    New York made me smile. It’s the type of space I could submit several lifetimes to and plan on visiting in 2018. Before I close I want to share that I’m not a competitive person. I have no desire to be aligned with the greats or to become an enigma in death. Photography is my alcohol and it helps me cope with the cracks of life. 

    Special thanks goes out to my cousin, LaQueena and my nephew, Mr.Bam00zie for hospitality and guidance and also to hatekatiemidge for capturing the things I couldn’t. Peace. 

Some technical stuff: 

This entire trip was shot with my Rolleiflex 2.8e and a few variations of film. For black and white I mostly shot Ilford Hp5 and two rolls were Kodak Tri-X. My Color work is a mixed bag. Kodak Portra 400, Lomography Color Negative 400, Fuji Pro 400h and Kodak Ektar 100. 


Yeah, I had some shit lying around and I stopped at both B & H and Adorama and picked up a few more rolls. I wanted to see what brand would best compliment my dedication to Ilford HP5. So far I prefer Portra and Lomo 400. I love the fuji stuff but sometimes its too flat and I never want to spend time in Lightroom correcting anything. White balance yes. But again, I try to keep my color work as truthful as my black and white work. 

     I developed the Ilford Hp5 in Kodak D-76, pushed to 800 ISO. I also shot Ilford Delta 3200 (shot at 1000 iso and pushed to 3200) at night and bathed it in the same formula @ 68 degrees. Scanning is handled by an epson v550 w/ light contrast adjustment in Lightroom.

     I had fun shooting color. A lot of fun. So much that I’ve fought the urge to shoot more. It’s a nice deviation from full time black and white so to compensate I’m going to shoot 10-12 color rolls for every 20 black and white. With the Unicolor C-41 kit you’re able to stretch it’s 8- 120 film limit to about 12 rolls. By extending developing time after the 8th roll from 3.5 minutes to 4/ 4.25 minutes @ 102 degrees. I wonder if it’d be worth making another post on my process. 

Copyright © James Dickerson 
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