It takes a special kind of masochist to carry around the behemoth that is a large format camera. One such person is Joseph Allen Freeman, a photographer working in the 8 x 10 format. In the short film Through the Ground Glass, by Nick Bolton and Taylor Hawkins, we hear Freeman ruminate about the trials and romanticism of the age-old process.

The short documentary has a grace to it that matches large format photography itself (if you discount the fact that Freeman curses like a sailor). In it we hear about what a pain in the ass it is to lug around huge equipment, and the rewards in developing the negatives that are almost as large as a sheet of notebook paper. It's a far cry from the point and click experience of digital photography we are all so used to.


Large format photography is indeed a fading art, but still very much alive. The remarkable thing is how cheap it is to get into the world of large format, given that you end up with something that just doesn't exist in the digital world. You can find used 4x5 setups for under $500 easily. Of course, you then have to find a lab to develop the negatives and make prints, which is why this stuff doesn't come easy. Hopefully it will live on in niche enthusiasts like Freeman. Check out the results of his labor on his website. [Petapixel]

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