After ending Fernwehallein I decided to take a pause. This project marked the first five years of the lonely houses. There is no question these years were a crazy wild ride for me. From the intuitive, free flowing days of walking around with a mobile phone capturing houses in my family home in Madeira, to having a solo show in Lisbon, and re-opening my online shop for art prints. I needed a pause to introspect about all this, to make sure that whatever I do next is meaningful to me.
While I am a perfectionist, I am also liberal about perfectionism. The struggle between these two opposing forces has been inside me since I remember. On the one hand, there is the free flowing intuitive who values novelty and wants to explore the unknown in whatever way possible. On the other, the craftsman, the scientist, the one who does not care at all how long it takes to make things perfect, and for who perfection is a constantly moving target. It really seems to me that I have reached a stage now where finally these two parts of me can begin to coexist.
So, I’m now back for more — taking new steps, slowly. The way it starts for me is on my new studio at home. From this place I can now control the entire process: from conception, the sketches on the design table, taking the photos, developing the negatives, scanning and editing. I own it all (well, almost all). I can finally control every step of the path from an idea to the final step before the art print.
Working with film negative scans
This is my current meditation. I am scanning old and new film negatives. I repeat the process over and over, seeking the right adjustments that will allow my Epson 750 scanner to give me the best results I can get at home. This involves a lot of steps, from handling the negs, to preparing the scanner, scanning, and then… the adjustments.
The biggest challenges for me right now are: (1) getting the right colours. I don’t think the native converters do it right, they take me close but not quite to the final thing; (2) getting the sharpest scan (I think I am buying one of the betterscanning trays); and (3) cleaning dust and scratches – this is where I am spending some good time. I began my editing learning path with digital images that were pretty much grainless. Film scans vary a lot in this respect and editing images that have natural grain can be quite a challenge.
It is funny to remember how I resisted the grain for a while — when I started with analog photography — but I have changed my mind. It is not that I go for the grainy look, but now I can see how the right grain can change our perception of a volume — so, so much. I now resist the plastic look of full frame and medium format digital images, because while they can be beautiful to look at, they lack some kind of community scaffolding I see in the film negative with the right, small, grain.
It is also this incredible thing of what happens to the grain when printed as a C-type print, in the right size. Some beautiful alchemy takes place. I am learning about it and loving it.
The new Aleke series in the online shop
In parallel, I decided to re-open my online shop where you will find art prints for sale. These have the same quality as my original pieces, namely certified C-type prints on Fuji Matt (or in some cases FujiFlex) . They are just re-edits, cropped smaller versions in much larger limited editions. For now, each piece will have 150 original prints made. Once sold out they will never be printed again.
Many people have been enquiring about more affordable versions of my works. I have been working on a number of ideas and the new Aleke series is just one of them. The goal is to release a new print every six weeks. If you have any enquiries feel free to get in touch on instagram DM, or use the contact form available from the menu.
Next post? Deeper into the editing of film scans.