In 1928 photographer Andre Kertesz took this simple but striking image of a fork on a plate.
Since I am on a learning path exploring black and white film this image struck me and the eagerness to replicate it hit me hard.
This is what the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art say about the Fork.
|“André Kertész’s long photographic career began in Hungary in 1912. He lived in Paris from 1925 to 1936 before coming to New York City. While many of his pictures have the simplicity of amateur snapshots, Kertész made extensive use of such modernist devices as the aerial view and the extreme close-up.||This work, one of the most important of his Parisian period, exemplifies the transformative powers of his vision by suggesting an inherent mystery in the mundane. Kertész’s Fork is at once realistic and abstract, intimate and monumental.”|
Working out how to replicate this deceivingly simple image has taught me so much about how powerful a simple looking image can be if treated correctly, lighting and how different digital and analogue cameras interpreted the vision.
Here is my digital version.
Taken using my Canon R with the “Nifty Fifty” 50mm f1.8 at ISO 100 1/15 f/11 and with the slightest of contrast added in editing, along with the black “dave” border, so that I can replicate the contrast if needed in the print of the negative.
It took me a while to get just the right light intensity to bring in the depth of the shadows which for me make the original piece so stunning and attractive.
This exercise also made me start to think about all the other so called mundane items around us and how they to could be photographed in such a way to make them heroes of any art created.
Now the film version
So now with the homage to Andres work on film, as it should be.
I used my trusty Canon AL-1 also with the period “Nifty Fifty” 50mm f/1.4 shot at ISO 100, 1/15 and f/11. The roll of film was Kodak TMax 100.
In developing the TMax I accidently used the wrong film carrier for my Labbox and loaded the 35mm onto the 120 reel. Absolutely trashed. BUT….. I took the same shots on my Bronica ETRSi 645 and these came out ok so the disaster was averted. Lessons learned 😉
On film I used a tripod & a release cable. On the Canon R I used the 2 second timer.
Lighting was via 1 x Godox 60w continuous led light at 100% acting like the sun on a bright sunny day. I moved the unit around free of any stand, until I found the spot where the shadow best match the original and then fixed the light to a stand where it lay.
Manually focusing on the curve of the forks back I then took the first shot. A second just in case was also bagged.
To be sure of this shot I also bracketed the image by changing the f stop + and – 1 stop so f/8 and f/16 to see how they came out when I developed the film.
As I am curious about how film behaves, I also took the chance to take some shoots for my personal learning at 200 and 400 iso adjusting the shutter speed accordingly with confirmation from my light meter.
Developing the film, printing and digitizing.
Currently I use Kodaks HC-110 for my black and white films as for now it seems to give me the look I am after in my B&W work at the “B” mix and timings for 100 ISO film.
For printing the negative I use Kentmere paper and Ilfords Multigrade Paper dev, stop and rapid fixer. Again at stock mixs and timings.
I also digitize the negative and process them, but without edits, via Lightroom to display on this site.
What a ride
In recreating this legendary image I have learned so much about lighting, film developing and spotting things while I am out and about that others might over look.
The two digital images below are of my pudding at a family meal and I could not resists making a version of the “Fork” but with my spoon which came out well.
For film this exercise has made me think more about film development, developers I use and how to get he most out of my film and over the coming months I will post more about how I am progressing of which I hope you will find useful and maybe entertaining via my YouTube Channel.
I wish you well