Posts Tagged ‘colour negative’

Notting Hill colour 1994

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-125-positive_2400

In 1994 I set out to photograph carnival both in black and white and in colour, and while my colour images concentrate on the people in the procession and their costumes, it was a little more varied than in previous years, with more overlap with the black and white work.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-111-positive_2400

So I took some pictures of the people watching the carnival in colour and perhaps rather more than in previous years where the carnival was the background rather than the main subject.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-108-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-104-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-097-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-094-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-078-positive_2400

I was working with colour negative film, and exposures were a little more critical than with black and white, which has greater latitude. There are some I could not get good prints from in the darkroom, and although digitising makes it a little easier there are still some where the colour is not as good as I would like.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-048-positive_2400

But despite these problems I was encouraged by the results , and the following year for various reasons photographed Notting Hill almost entirely in colour.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1994. Peter Marshall 94c8-nh-018-positive_2400

There are around 60 colour pictures from 1994 beginning some way down page 6 of my Notting Hill in the 90s album and continuing onto the next page. Clicking on any of the pictures above will also take you to larger versions in this album.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Carnival in Colour 1990

Sunday, September 27th, 2020
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-96-positive_2400

Though I think my best pictures of Notting Hill Carnival were in black and white, most years until I moved to using digital cameras I photographed there in both black and white and colour. By 1990, when I first photographed Carnival, for colour I was exclusively using colour negative film.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-40-positive_2400

I could process colour negative film myself, and by this time much of my black and white work was taken using Ilford’s chromogenic films, at first XP1 which had been introduced in 1980, then XP2 which replaced it in Spring 1991, which was designed to be processed in the standard C41 chemicals used for colour neg, though Ilford still produced its own specific processing kit just for the black and white versions.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-7-positive_2400

While it was simple to contact print black and white negatives, producing these in colour from colour negatives was rather more difficult, and it was only after I’d squeezed a colour paper processing line into my diminutive darkroom in the mid 1990s that I began to do so. Even then, getting reasonably correct colour was a problem.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-50-positive_2400

Before that time, I sent away my colour films for trade processing, and being a little short of cash mostly that meant using cheap non-professional processing labs, paying for processing and printing as 4″x6″ enprints. The film processing was fine, but the printing varied from good to a rainbow range of colour casts and variable contrast. Eventually I found a cheap postal amateur service that was reasonably consistent and still cost only around a third of my local pro lab.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-21-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-92-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-1-positive_2400

Now I’ve digitised most of the colour negatives from the 1990 Notting Hill Carnival, and have found them rather more interesting than I expected. Having them in digital form makes it easier to work on the pictures as I could when making black and white prints, with some dodging and burning where needed.

There are a few pictures in this post, and I’ll put at least one more set from 1990 on here in another post, but if you want to look at more, and at those from later years you can go to page 5 of Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s. Clicking on any of the pictures above will also take you to a larger version in this Flickr album.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


South of the River

Sunday, June 28th, 2020
Cafe, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991 TQ3274-001
Café, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991

I think I only took my first pictures on colour negative film in 1985. When I began in photography at the start of the 1970s it was quite clear that colour neg was just for amateur snaps and social photography, but real photographers – if they stooped to colour – did it on transparency film.

Cafe, Loughborough Junction, 1989, TQ3275-001
Café, Loughborough Junction, 1989

Most publications – books, magazines, newspapers etc – . still used only – or mainly – black and white, and when colour was used it was almost invariably from colour transparency. Images taken on colour neg were only used at a last resort, and usually then duped onto transparency for repro, or occasionally printed onto black and white paper to be used. You could get special panchromatic black and white paper which gave some chance of normal tonality, but it was a pain to use as normal darkroom safelights fogged it, and often normal black and white paper was used despite the often very poor tonality it gave.

Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987 TQ3276-002
Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987

Though colour transparency was great for repro, making prints from it had its limitations – as did using transparency film. I found myself too often having images with empty black shadow areas or unusably blown highlights as it the film had a limited exposure range. You could get great punchy saturated colour prints, fine for advertising (which was never my scene) but it was difficult to achieve subtlety. Fed up with telling printers what I wanted and being told it wasn’t possible I began making my own prints, working at times with complicated unsharp masking for Cibachromes. My German project I deliberately printed on outdated Agfa direct reversal paper.

Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-004
Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989

In the 1980s, Fuji shook up colour negative (and, to a lesser extent transparency film), producing new film and print materials that gave greater fidelity, longer print life and greater flexibility in the darkroom. Seeing the prints that other photographers were making (and the fact I wasn’t actually selling my slides professionally) was a conversion experience. Since then I don’t think I’ve ever taken pictures on slide film.

Hairdresser, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989, TQ3276-007
Gee P. Johnson, The People’s Salon, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989,

At the same time I was beginning a major black and white project to photograph the fabric of London, and saw my colour work as separate to that, but dependent on it. I don’t think I ever went out to visit a place or area to take colour pictures, but simply did so when opportunities arose as I visited various areas.

I didn’t have a particular interest in cafes or hairdressers, but saw these and other shops and offices as example of small businesses with relatively low start-up costs which reflected both the aesthetic of their owners and of the people of the area which they served. Gee P Johnson’s unisex ‘The People’s Salon’ for me expressed that sense well.

TQ3276-013
Daneville Rd, Camberwell, 1989, Southwark,

Filing selected trade prints in albums according to their grid references was a way to explore the differences between different areas across London – and I chose to do so in these 1km wide south-north strips. It was also a kind of cataloguing system for my work, though not always as well documented on the prints it should have been.

Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-017
Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell,

These examples come from the first thirty or so images in my Flickr album TQ32 London Cross-section, which contains a little over 300 pictures. I’ll perhaps look again at some more shortly.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.