Philadelphia on Film


New Years Day I exposed two rolls of Ilford HP5 (400 ISO) using a Nikon F3 with f1.8 105mm lens.

In my wanders in Philadelphia to capture the festive splendor of the annual Mummers parade, I also made images of the city’s architecture and neighborhoods.

Philadelphia is a city of contrasts, and my aim was to produce stark and revealing photographs. Urban textures are enhanced by the silvery selenium enhanced highlight, inky black shadows.

By intent there’s a foreboding darkness to these images.

Granularity and shallow depth of field are characteristics my choice of lens and film and make for distinctive photos. These are distinctly different than digital images I made during the same outing.

My chemical process is non-standard: in addition to split processing the film (using two stage development), I selenium-toned my finished negatives to alter contrast.

I scanned the negatives using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner, then made very slight adjustments in post processing.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

3 thoughts on “Philadelphia on Film”

  1. Top photo (city hall, etc.) is a remarkable art photo. In my opinion it’s one of your great photos. It should be acquired by the Philadelphia Art Museum for their photo collection.

    An underexposed subject perfect for film photography in Philly is the remarkable concrete viaduct built by the PRR over the entire length of South 25th street including sidings to the 2nd floors of industrial buildings (now gone). See here: https://loc.gov/pictures/item/pa3759/. Beware of falling concrete and note this is not the safest neighborhood but ok if you don’t make yourself conspicuous and keep aware of your surroundings. This viaduct is heavily used today to get to the yards between the sports stadiums and the former navy bases. It was the means for the PRR special trains to get to the Army-Navy games for many years.

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