Charlene Hardy: Black and White Portraits

I've had a photography crush on Charlene Hardy for a while now.  I totally cyber stalk her.  But after seeing these photos, my crush has upgraded to obsession.  These are my absolutely my favorite style of portraitute.  Simple.  Beautiful light.  Beautiful little faces.  What more could you want?  You totally rock Charlene!! - Sandra Coan

From Charlene:

"For these photos, I used natural light and the Contax 645 with Tmax 400 film. I have used Tmax since I was in high school and feel like I know this film the best. To meter for the Tmax I set my hand held light meter to ISO 400 and use the spot meter to get a meter reading on the shadow side of their face. After I get the reading, I open up one to two stops- depending on the child's skin tone, and the zone I want their skin to fall in. During certain times of day and the lighting conditions, I will sometimes meter the highlight side of their faces to make sure the light will not be too contrasty. If there is too much of a difference between the highlights and the shadows, I will place a piece of white foam core on the shadow side of the child to help even out the lighting. I love directional contrasty lighting but for these portraits I wanted softer looking light.

After I have the film exposed, I develop the film in HC-110 dilution B. I would someday love to have a darkroom but for now I develop the film at my kitchen sink, where I can keep my eye on the kids!! The time I develop the film, depends on the meter readings I took, but I always have the water and chemicals at 68 degrees and invert the tank four times every minute.  After developing and fixing the film, I then rinse it and use the a coat hanger to hang the film in my shower to dry! I am trying to make my limited space work to my advantage.

I scan my own film using the Epson V750 Pro and the Silverfast software that came bundled with the scanner. I am still learning how to use the scanner, so I play around with the histogram until I have the results I am looking for. My biggest hang-up right now is dust control. I don't have a dedicated space for my film developing and scanning and with four active children, I have a hard time keeping things spotless. So, once the film is scanned I take the file into Photoshop CS2 and clean up the dust.

I am enjoying the black and white process so much. I love that it is a hands on process and I have control over the results from start to finish. The time and care it takes to produce one portrait helps me to connect to the feeling of creating a fine piece of art instead of being a mass producer of average portraits."

About Charlene: based in Washington / website / contact / facebook