Marine captures classic, large format, direct-positive, photo portraits while in Afghanistan
posted Monday, September 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM EDT
M. Patrick Kavanaugh is not only an avid photographer, but also an active Marine. During a recent deployment in Agfhanistan, not only did Kavanaugh bring along his normal photography gear, but also something a bit more unusual: a Sinar F2 large format film camera. Kavanaugh then shot a series of images of other Marines, and rather than use film, he opted for direct-positive paper to record the images.
The photos were 4x5s, and by Kavanaugh's own admission, the setup was very finicky, and only about half the shots produced usable images. And the photos themselves are pretty rough looking, even for direct-positives. He cites the high temperatures (100°F) of the chemicals, a limited amount of time and water for rinsing, and scuffing during transport. Hardly the ideal situation to get crystal clear prints, but certainly an interesting rig.
You can see more of his normal photography on Kavanaugh's Flickr page.
As an interesting companion to these photographs, there's a long tradition of paper photography in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Box Camera Project chronicled these mobile photographers who would expose directly onto standard photo paper, and then photograph that paper again in order to create a positive print.