A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Revealing The Serendipity Of Failure
Friday, November 06, 2009

I like to think of the serendipity of failure as one of the most welcome methods of achieving new results with the photographic process. Sometimes that failure is suppressed for years (in this case it was a period of 24 between the taking, 1985 and its revealing.) It is interesting for me to point out that to develop a negative or print in Spanish we use the verb revelar which also means to reveal as well as to make visible that which is hidden.

I find the word magical as it stresses less the mechanical process and more on what the image itself will show of itself, its maker and his subjects.

The failure here involved opening the film back to light after the exposure of the pictures. The event was at the Sub Ballroom at UBC. It was a concert with The Cramps and two local bands of note, the Modernettes and Slow. I don’t think that any of the pictures (there are 7 exposures in my files) were ever used. There may have been more but the sudden opening of the back would have ruined at least half of them. At the time I was using 220 film which meant I had the possibility of exposing 20 frames.

With the advent of good scanners I am able to “restore” these pictures to some degree of contrast and sharpness while retaining some of the intangible charm of the inadvertent gross overexposure.

More Failure.
The Cramps.


Previous Posts
Bishop's Castle, Capablanca, Capdevila & Chess

Dr. Burnett's Materiality

The Film Samuel Z. Arkoff Never Made

John Armstrong - Rebel Kind

Saved By Ibsen

Halloween & Robertson Davies

Just So

Saxena's Prison

That Pessoa Blonde

The Gun

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