Sheoaks Canning River was made on a bright summer’s day. Preserving the impression of bright light is important for me in this photograph.
The grass is the key subject for me in this image. It conveys the feeling of summer. Dried out grasses tussled by the wind into chaotic swirls. Each slender stem capable of capturing the glow of light.
Maintaining texture in the grass is important in achieving the light quality I am after. With the contrast range in this scene so high, I wanted to prevent the deep shadows from going too black in the print.
If the shadows from the backlit
Small areas of black serve as a tonal reference for the lighter tones within the print. Larger areas of black by definition contain no textural or tonal modulation, therefore they can “obstruct” your view of the print. This can make the print very two dimensional by losing the perception of depth. To make a print filled with light you must pay careful attention not to print with too much black.
Having been a photography judge at the Royal Show for three consecutive years, I think the digital prints made today suffer from too much solid black. Unlike traditional darkroom printing, photographers are not working directly with the print but through a lab. What they see on their calibrated light-emitting monitors is different from the reflected light from a print. Solid black may look good on a screen, but how often do you experience it in real life?
The film was Forte 4×5 sheet at 200 ISO. The negative received additional exposure and reduced development.
Sheoaks Canning River Perth Western Australia is available for purchase online. Sheoaks Canning River Perth Western Australia is a 40 x 50cm silver gelatin print, hand-printed by the author. It is dry-mounted onto 100% cotton museum board, then window-mounted behind a clear acrylic sheet. Framed in graphite tone aluminium it is ready to hang. Outer dimensions 74.5 x 61.5cm. Limited edition of 10, signed and numbered. Freight and insurance within Australia included. This print was included in my exhibition, “Dissociation“, at Heathcote Museum and Gallery 2015.