Contact Sheet Photography - Tip #8

Several years ago, maybe 5 or 6, I signed up for a Photography 1 class because I wanted access to a darkroom. I hadn't been in one forever. Maybe I missed the chemicals.

When it comes to photography, I'm self taught. I even figured out the black and white on my own. I did take a color developing class a million years ago. It was really hard. I was in way over my head. But other than that minor experience, my first real photography class was the Photography 1 at Valley College in Los Angeles.

I learned a lot about myself in that class. There were two different classes and luckily I somehow picked the right professor. When my class was assigned to go out and shoot 'light and shadow' everyone in the other class had to go and shoot the same car wash sign on Ventura Blvd. The one with a giant hand and a corvette on the top. 

I was initially just interested in the darkroom portion. There's nothing better than shooting a roll of film, not knowing what you've captured until you develop the film and print your contact sheet. To my surprise, I also relished being sent out to shoot the assignments and I fell in love with photography all over again. 

Below is an assignment we were assigned later in the semester. I had never heard of this, much less tried it out before. The idea is you go out pick a subject and instead of shooting it in one frame, you had to break it up into 35 individual frames that would then comprise the photograph as a whole in the contact sheet.

I chose to shoot the altar area in a church. And damn, it was really hard. Trying to line up the individual frames to make up the picture of the whole image. It's hard to keep track of how I framed each shot, especially when I got to the end of each strip (5 frames) and have to move to the right and up to where the shot would be next to the first shot. Frame by frame, strip by strip, trying to make it line up vertically and horizontally.

 My results were nowhere near perfect, but ultimately it didn't matter. I liked it. I think I caught the true feeling of the room. I was very happy with its fractured look.

For any of you shooting film, I highly recommend giving this assignment a try. I'm going to do it again as soon as I get my film camera fixed and have a darkroom to play in. Hoping that day comes sooner than later.