I Love Contact Sheets

Had two conversations in the same number of days regarding contact sheets. Not real contact sheets — like the kind with 12 or 36 frames from one roll of 35mm or 120 film on a single sheet of paper. It was about the simulated or more accurately semi-simulated attempts to give the same experience on-line with all the frames made on a certain day.

Of course that's not the same experience. I'm still searching for what might work. While chatting with my two e-buddies I realized I've not done anything like that in a while so consider this a special edition of sorts. A 36 frame slice of consecutive frames with Melanie from January 2016. I just took the last frame of one setup and went backwards to grab the 36.

Not even close to the real thing but in a way it replicates the experience in a few interesting ways. The first is sequential context and by extension juxtaposition as frames were made without disturbing context. Secondly I decided to embed my initial first-pass take on rating. I'm absolutely sure that will change next month or the month after or whenever I must make a decision on what I will print, if any. The last thing this particular 21st century take on a contact sheet does is sorta-kinda simulate the experience of looking thru a 4x loupe. Exactly what I used to do as soon as a contact sheet dried. The little bit of motion around the frame, the little bit of not seeing the exact framing as a whole, and the 3-ish seconds on each one.

The only other thing it does is show all of the images in a relatively RAW state without a bunch of crap like dodging, burning, and other things that may influence selection of frames artificially.



Yes, I do royally screw things up every once in a while but not a whole lot. In one way I guess that's good. In another way it's not a great thing. Back when contact sheets were regularly shared with clients, art directors, or whoever was involved with making selections beyond one's self I was extremely insecure about having screw-ups visible to anyone let alone someone I was trying to impress.

In certain ways I may still be that way to far too large a degree. At this point in my photographic journey and stage of life I relish my failures but there's still a little voice of insecurity that probably stops me from releasing the shutter when I don't feel confident. That insecurity is in a lot of ways an obstacle. It was then and it definitely is now. It's one of those things that's super hard to overcome. The hard things about making photographs are all psychological, the techno-shit is the easy part.


End Notes

All pictures made with the Fuji XT-1 and 18-55 at f/8 with monoblock strobe in a 7ft Octabox. Processing via Lightroom CC with VSCO FILM05 BW400CN applied on import.