Staff Profile | Simon Fernandez, darkroom and film processing technician
For those of you that don’t know, Simon runs our film processing service above the darkrooms at Photofusion. However, when he’s not processing negatives or providing technical support for the darkrooms, he’s usually out taking photographs. Not only is he a highly skilled and widely published music photographer, his personal work favours the use of old analogue cameras and traditional darkroom developing to fuel his creativity. His latest project draws on his knowledge and expertise of film processing and, possibly as a reaction against the need to always be careful and precise in handling other people negatives, he disregards the sanctity of the negative by taking the film through a surprising series of processes.
“Going against the popular myth that negatives are precious, as is time, I thought I’d see what happened when you soaked, froze, painted, and scratched a 5×4 negative. The colour version of this photo started off life as a black and white negative. After doing my best to ‘ruin’ it by freezing the neg in a solid block of ice for a couple of days before processing, I thought I could take it a few steps further. Soaking the neg in yellow water colour paint, refreezing it, and dripping ink onto the emulsion seems to have done the trick. Because it’s a negative, all things are opposite; yellow becomes blue. Moral of the story is; well there isn’t one really, but experimenting is good; no point repeating what you already know. This is an attempt to explore image making, texture, and mark making in a very physical way within the context of photography.”
“I’m still working through the possibilities of what can be done. The technical side of it is moving towards combining negatives that have been messed with, and then sandwiching them between painted glass. The height of the different layers make for some interesting results. The hanger and the clock pictures were done on a Graflex 5×4 camera, the autumn picture was done with an old Bronica Zenza (I quite like using old cameras from time to time, just for the subtle softness you get from the lenses). All shot on film, and all printed in a darkroom. The pics are scanned prints.”
“I’ve been working in the music industry for a fair old bit now, but always did these sort of pictures in my spare time. I used to work at Metro as a black and white printer back when they were still a big lab, so had access to lots of paper and free processing. More importantly I also had access to some very experienced printers, who had been working in darkrooms for over thirty years.Since then, I’ve still had the bug to see how far I can push a picture, which in a sense has evolved into this.”
To see Simon’s professional and personal work please go to his website