First Scans

Today, I began the lengthy process of scanning the medium format negatives of the images I took with the Mamiya 645. In order to produce life-size images, I need to scan the negatives at 4,000 d.p.i., which, of course, requires top of the range equipment. The technicians at the GSA Photography department were very helpful and explained the process extremely clearly. The problem was that each image was going to be 340MB and would take 15 minutes to scan and over 10 to save on to my ever-loyal iPod! After a lovely morning lecture (Harry Benson) and an hour and a half in the library browsing books about writing theses, I wish I had been more prompt in going to the studio (so that is why they are open until 9pm Mon to Thu).

From 2 to 5, I managed to scan 5 images and re-read a few pages of Baudrillard’s Seduction. I also had to think carefully about which images to scan, since it is obvious I am not going to be able to work on all 130. That’s for the better, although, once I scanned the first one, I realised that the images did not operate similarly on the contact sheets as in the screen. Colours were duller and unfocused surfaces, were scary, and I was viewing them a fraction of the size I have in my head. That, of course, provoked the third re-think of the day and a further selection was made. I have about 30 on my list, which amounts to 6-7 days of work in the studio. My only relief is that, when I got home and tried opening them in Photoshop, it worked –with the caveat of having nothing else open, working on one image at a time, arming myself with all my rendering patience and saving constantly to avoid system crashes. At 340MB a pop and a 4 year old laptop computer with 1.33 GHz Power and 768MB RAM, I wasn’t counting my chickens.

After scanning and touching up (carefully annotating all my moves on a notebook, for data purposes, but also to be able to understand what I am doing), I will make some preliminary printouts. Something tells me I am going to be surprised at every step of the way and the quicker I get to understand how the end product will operate the better, as that will be what matters in the end, what will hopefully seduce the viewer by showing seduction. Tom was right. This definitely feels like an investigation.