I hate having my picture taken. It’s one of the main reasons I hide behind a camera. I’m also really shy about asking others if I can take their picture simply because people generally don’t like having their photo taken. This is something I’m trying to work on, but it’s difficult. Last fall, I purchased a lot of sheet film on eBay for use in my large format 4×5 camera. I had been working my way through a box of Kodak Portra 400 and had one sheet left. I was hoping to do a portrait but my kids won’t sit still for that long, so I decided to take a picture of myself. Ugh.

I spent some time setting up the camera and lighting equipment and wanted a really shallow depth of field where only my eyes were in focus. I had set up a make-shift posing stand/head rest to ensure that my head stayed still and in the same position. I asked my wife to sit in my place so I could focus on the eyes, which seemed to workout well, but we must have slightly different size heads as the focus is off. Next time I try this, I plan to use a length of string to ensure the distance from the film plane or lens to the eyes is the exact same between subjects.

I had a single light set up with it positioned to my left, slightly above and to the front. I also had a white reflector, (couch cushion), just to my right to fill in shadows on the right side of my face. The light I was using was a work lamp I purchased at Home Depot and covered with 2 pieces of paper to diffuse the light. Next time I might move the light back a bit as I find the shadows still a bit harsh.

Not the best photo of myself, (my wife says it looks like a mug shot), but it’s a start and something I will try to work on more in the future. If you’re up for having a portrait done with a 60 year old camera, let me know!

Camera: Pacemaker Crown Graphic 4×5
Lens: Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7
Film: Kodak Portra 400 (EI 200)
Shutter Speed: 1/5
Aperture: f/4.7
Developer: Unicolor C-41 Kit
Scanner: Epson V850
Catalog ID: 2018-Sheet-007


2 thoughts on “Self-Portrait

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