St. Louis Vice

It is easy to become complacent. I have my go-to cameras. My go-to films. My go-to lab. I have been shooting since I was a teenager and I know where my comfort zone lies. It sounds good to preach about pushing one's self and identifying new challenges. It's another to actually do it.


I received a Harman Titan 4x5 pinhole camera for Christmas. This camera has been on my wish list for a while. But be careful what you ask for, the saying goes. I have never worked with large format cameras and films. I waited until last week to finally get out my changing bag and load the five film holders I bought used online. I am a nervous sort, and loading the holders with Direct Positive Paper caused me anxiety. However, I was elated when I completed the task.

The field of view of the Titan is almost half that of my other pinhole, a Zero 2000. But the process of lining up a shot was familiar to me. I had never shot Direct Positive Paper, and an ISO of approximately 3 made my brain smoke. My anxiety about numbers was one of the lesser reasons I became an English major.

After I shot the 10 images, I needed a place to develop them. My friend Jeff offered his home darkroom and I accepted. More anxiety ensued. I had not been in a wet darkroom since college. But the old magic of watching an image appear in the developing tray made it seem like it had been only yesterday since I was in a darkroom.

So, 10 images. I like maybe 3. And this one is the best. That's a 10 percent "success" rate. Not bad odds.

Tomorrow, I'm loading the film holders with Ilford Delta 100 and heading out to shoot. I'll worry about developing the sheets later...