Frequently asked questions

How big is 8x10?


8x10 is a little bit smaller than a standard piece of notebook paper. 16x20 is a little bit smaller than 2 of sheets of paper next to each other.




What is the difference between standard and gallery paper?


Standard prints are created on semi-gloss resin coated paper that is archival for many years. The specific paper I use is Ilford Multigrade RC Pearl paper. These prints will likely remain unchanged during your lifetime if you keep them away from heat and direct sunlight. They are an affordable way to own a print created in a traditional darkroom. Gallery prints are created on semi-gloss fiber base paper that is the highest quality paper used for traditional black and white darkroom printing. These prints will last for many generations. The quality of these prints is suitable for showing in galleries and museums. The paper I use is Ilford Multigrade Fiber Base Glossy paper. In my experience, the fiber base glossy and the RC pearl look very similar. Fiber base paper requires longer developing and washing times and requires much more care to ensure that the print not only looks correct, but is also truly archival. I test the back of each fiber base print with a pH pen to test for residual chemicals.




What do the frames look like?


Standard prints come in black, wood composite frames. They are a little over half an inch wide and have an easel on the back so that they can be propped up. All frames also come fitted with wire for hanging (not shown). Gallery frames are similar, but a little bit thicker and do not have an easel. They come fitted with standard glass. UV protection glass is available on request.




How are prints packaged and shipped?


I take extreme care when packaging and shipping your print. Each individual print is wrapped in bubble wrap and cushioned in the box with newsprint. Prints ship in 2-4 weeks by USPS priority mail.




What camera(s) and film(s) do you use?


My main camera used to photograph Kids of the Black Hole is my Mamiya 7 II. Her name is Black Hole and she is a medium format camera that creates negatives that are 6cm x 7cm. She can take 10 photos on a roll of film. I sometimes also use Cameron, my Mamiya RB 67, and I have started using 2 different 35mm cameras recently. One is a Canon A1 that belonged to my dad. The other is a Canon T90 that belonged to a friend who passed away a few years ago. I use my Calumet 4x5 view camera on occasion. That camera is a completely different beast so it doesn't get used as much as I might like. Almost all of my black and white photos are captured on Ilford HP5+ film, in 35mm, 120 or 4x5" format. On occasion I will also use Ilford Delta 400, 100 or 3200.




How do I display my print? Can I hang it?


8x10 standard prints come with an easel back that allows you to prop it up on a table or book shelf. All frames come with wire on the back for hanging. For more information and help with hanging, Lowe's has detailed instructions on their website.




Do you offer custom framing?


Yes! If you would like a different color or style of frame, we can make that happen. I can work with a variety of budgets and styles so please do not hesistate to email me.




How do you print your photos?


All of my photos are printed in a traditional black and white darkroom. After the film has been developed and allowed to dry, I put one frame in an enlarger. The enlarger shines light through the negative and then through a lens onto a piece of light sensitive paper. Next, the paper goes into a series of either 3 or 4 chemical baths and is then washed. This is a very simplified explanation. I would be happy to elaborate if you're interested or this article on Emulsive gives a thorough explanation.




What or who inspires you?


I am inspired by photographers Nan Goldin, Anders Peterson, Larry Fink, and Susan Lipper, among many others. I am facinated by people and by the idea of documenting everyday life as a record for the future. I am inspired by all things analog. I like objects that are built to last. I love sculputure and artists who challenge what makes something art. I'm inspired by the late evening light and by the bright midday sun. Music is also a huge inspiration for me, heavy metal being a particular favorite. Last but not least, I love the process of film photography. It forces me to slow down and be deliberate. There are almost endless ways to develop and print film. The possibilities are both overwhelming and exciting. I'm inspired by the opportunity I have to experiment. I will never get bored with film.





© 2020 M Somerville Photography