Florence, Italy, Straight Up

Contact Sheet #1 of Florence, Italy. Photographed Straight Up by Cameron R Neilson

From an overview (from an airplane, satellite image, etc.), it’s easy to see patterns, isolate areas, and generate broad encompassing ideas on most anything. Straight Up photography takes a different approach, assimilating patterns from the ground up, one image at a time. Having the advantage of seeing all my images from a single city at once reminds me of making contact sheets in the darkroom (see description below). It’s in viewing these contact sheets where the magic of this project comes alive. Here is a selection of eight images from Florence, Italy.

Contact Sheet: A traditional contact sheet is made by sandwiching processed film (negatives) on top of photographic paper with glass on top in a darkroom. This combination is exposed to light and processed. The glass holds the negatives flat and therefore in “contact” with the photographic paper. The resulting image is a 1:1 reproduction of the film as a positive print. Contact sheets make selecting the best images easy since all can be seen at once. Additionally, image sequences can be seen and methodology of the photographer deduced. The term is still used today in the digital world, but often photographers delete or edit images from the contact sheet and only show select images–it’s part of the technological evolution of the process, and one I find sad. Seeing a contact sheet from a photographer is like looking at the long-hand, written-out, proof of a calculus problem: did the photographer wait the for the light, subject, chase it, get the image in one photo, or twenty photos).

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