ILFORD XP2 – Featured Film

XP2 SUPER is a sharp, fast, fine grain black and white film. It can be used for any photographic subject, but ensures excellent results when there is a wide subject brightness range. The film yields high contrast negatives and has an extremely wide exposure latitude making it suitable for use in varied lighting conditions. XP2 SUPER is a chromogenic film. This means that the dyes which make up the image are formed during development rather than being present in the film or added later. The extremely wide exposure latitude of XP2 SUPER is the result of the unique relationship between exposure and grain in chromogenic films.

• High speed ISO 400
• B&W Film using colour C41 Process
• High contrast, well defined highlights
• Available in 35mm & 120 Roll Film


ILFORD XP2 SUPER is easy to process. It is a black and white film which is processed in C41 type processing chemicals alongside colour negative films. Which means back in the day you could get it processed at any one hour lab, and have kinda black and white. Another advantage to this film is scan-ability. The tones made scans some of the best I have seen from film. I processed alot of rolls of this film, and thought it would be great to feature it.


XP2 is for sale and can be purchased at B&H here

Group f/64

Group f.64 provided a rallying place for like-minded photographers to gather, state their aims, and exhibit their carefully composed black-and-white images. The group mostly focused on landscapes and close up images from the natural environment, subjects that highlighted the photographer’s creative intuition and ability to create aesthetic order out of nature’s chaos.

On November 15, 1932, at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, eleven photographers announced themselves as Group f/64: Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Preston Holder, Consuelo Kanaga, Alma Lavenson, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, Brett Weston, and Edward Weston. The idea for the show had arisen a couple of months before at a party in honor of Weston held at a gallery known as “683” (for its address on Brockhurst Street in San Francisco)—the West Coast equivalent of Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery 291—where they had discussed forming a group devoted to exhibiting and promoting a new direction in photography that broke with the Pictorialism then prevalent in West Coast art photography.

The name referred to the smallest aperture available in large-format view cameras at the time and it signaled the group’s conviction that photographs should celebrate rather than disguise the medium’s unrivaled capacity to present the world “as it is.” As Edward Weston phrased it, “The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.” A corollary of this idea was that the camera was able to see the world more clearly than the human eye, because it didn’t project personal prejudices onto the subject. The group’s effort to present the camera’s “vision” as clearly as possible included advocating the use of aperture f/64 in order to provide the greatest depth of field, thus allowing for the largest percentage of the picture to be in sharp focus; contact printing, a method of making prints by placing photographic paper directly in contact with the negative, instead of using an enlarger to project the negative image onto paper; and glossy papers instead of matte or artist papers, the surfaces of which tended to disperse the contours of objects.

Hostetler, Lisa. “Group f/64”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Group f/64 Manifesto

The name of this Group is derived from a diaphragm number of the photographic lens. It signifies to a large extent the qualities of clearness and definition of the photographic image which is an important element in the work of members of this Group.

The chief object of the Group is to present in frequent shows what it considers the best contemporary photography of the West; in addition to the showing of the work of its members, it will include prints from other photographers who evidence tendencies in their work similar to that of the Group.


Group f/64 is not pretending to cover the entire of photography or to indicate through its selection of members any deprecating opinion of the photographers who are not included in its shows. There are great number of serious workers in photography whose style and technique does not relate to the metier of the Group.


Group f/64 limits its members and invitational names to those workers who are striving to define photography as an art form by simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods. The Group will show no work at any time that does not conform to its standards of pure photography. Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form. The production of the “Pictorialist,” on the other hand, indicates a devotion to principles of art which are directly related to painting and the graphic arts.


The members of Group f/64 believe that photography, as an art form, must develop along lines defined by the actualities and limitations of the photographic medium, and must always remain independent of ideological conventions of art and aesthetics that are reminiscent of a period and culture antedating the growth of the medium itself.


The Group will appreciate information regarding any serious work in photography that has escaped its attention, and is favorable towards establishing itself as a Forum of Modern Photography.








group f64


Porter’s ‘No Nonsense Photo Guides’

When I was young I purchased a ‘complete’ darkroom from the local buy and sell paper in Winnipeg. It came with everything. Included in the mix was a stack of ‘No-Nonsense Guides’ from Porters Camera Store.

I did a few searches and was amazed to see some of them online. You can check them out here:

Back in the day I got alot of great information out of these.

Here is info from their site:

Each of the original pamphlets reproduced here in PDF form sold for 95 cents. They covered topics such as flash photography and tips for vacation photos. Though the products mentioned may be outdated we can still appreciate the enthusiasm and commitment to photo education that they represent. In fact, a few of them have been continuously recycled and updated through the years and the current versions make up Porter’s Information Station! (we Iowans tend to be frugal like that)

The guides:

Basic Flash does a great job of removing some of the mystery behind hot-shoe mounted flashes. The brochure talks about “Three Styles of Electronic Flash” and while the text ignores SLR’s with built-in flash the illustration shows just that. Obviously an updated image was added at some point. I’d like to find an original printing with the original art! Pay particular attention to the brief discussion on bounce flash. Without getting very technical the brochure nicely presents this important tool and neatly explains why it’s a good trick to learn.

Advanced Flash starts up right where Basic left off. This brochure is very useful – especially the ‘Lighting Ratio Table’. If you like to shoot with multiple light sources it would be worthwhile to print this brochure, clip the table out and tape it to the side of your flash. If photography is the art of capturing light and shadow, this is the table that is the foundation of that art.

Adventures In Close-up Photography Close-up, or more accurately Macro photography is an addictive hobby. Once you have captured the smallness that surrounds you, you will want to do it again and again. This brochure spends a lot of time talking about equipment and not much about how to use it. That’s OK, in this case the equipment is important! Besides, Porter’s has other resourcesto get you inspired about shooting Macro.

Beginner’s Guide to Wedding Photography isn’t going to change into into a pro but it will certainly outline the preparation that should be taken before shooting a wedding. In particular look at the shot list. Notice the specific poses expected in a wedding album and do your best to capture them!

Filters and Lens attachments I can hear it now “Never mind about filters, I have Photoshop!” Maybe, but this pamphlet discusses a few filters that would take half an hour to recreate on a computer!

Wildlife Photography For Beninners. Stalking and shooting your prey using only a camera. Real Grizzly Adams stuff… especially brought home when the guest author signs off with “Happy Trails to You” (I thought Dale Evans owned that one). Kidding aside, this is a glimpse into what it takes to become a really good wildlife photographer. The overriding message is patience. If you get impatient waiting for microwave popcorn, maybe this isn’t your best choice of photographic subject…

Introduction to Lighting is a brochure that has remained relevant year after year. This publication is another “keeper”! Suggestions on umbrellas, diffusers, lighting patterns – they are all in here. Plus that handy lighting ratio table makes another appearance too.

Introduction to Color Film. From today’s point of view it’s hard to imagine that anyone needed an introduction to color film. But there was a time when color print film ruled the world. In the early 90’s my store stocked film from four different manufacturers: Kodak, Agfa, Fuji and Konica. Each brand offered perhaps two different lines of color film, times five ASA speeds (what we call ISO today), all multiplied by three roll sizes of 12, 24 and 36 exposures. That’s 120 different rolls of film without getting into the color slide, specialty or professional films! Yeah, a guide was definitely in order.

Dictionary of Common Photo Terms. This gem is very useful. Photography uses a lot of terms, some easily understood others not so much. Even though there are a lot of film and darkroom related definitions in this brochure there are more that still apply to today’s digital world. We’ll be updating this golden oldie, so look for the newer version soon.

Choosing an Enlarger. Even though digital photography is the norm, Porter’s continues to sell enlargers at high volume. An enlarger is a deceptively simple device, it would seem to be no more than a light and a baseboard. However after reading through this brochure you will find that there are decisions to make when purchasing that can either limit or liberate your future print making.