View Full Version : Monthly...The Story Behind Every Photograph

Steve Sherman
1-Feb-2016, 17:25
I have been making photographs in Hartford City Hall for almost 15 years. As easy as it is to find areas to isolate and photograph I will share the Story Behind “Staircase Down” Photograph as it is easily the most demanding setup I’ve ever gone through in City Hall. This image was in direct contrast to the Staircase image made from the basement vantage point, while that one is looking up to the ceiling, this is from the 3rd floor looking down to the basement.

This was taken probably 8-10 years ago, long before cell phones had become so sophisticated with quick capture capabilities. I’ve included the Staircase Up with a Red Arrow to draw attention to the center railing at the very top of the image. My 5x7 Deardorff camera mounted on the Gitzo tripod was hung over the railing with one closed tripod leg over the railing while the other two were fully extended and strapped with multiple “bungee cords” through the railing banisters to insure the camera would not fall three stories. Just getting the back of the camera perpendicular to the wall took an inordinate amount of time. There is not a lot of light in this area of the building on a Sunday morning so the task of focusing the camera and then getting adequate depth of focus as I stood on a small step stool took as I recall more than 30 minutes and with that there was still a lot of educated guess work because it was so dark at the very bottom of the stairwell.
The exposure was 20 minutes @ f22 with a 110mm Super Symar Schneider lens with considerable contrast contraction during the film processing end of things, even with that contraction there is still a fair amount of printing manipulation done during the final printing stage on graded Portriga Rapid paper.

There is still more work to be done with this series but gaining access to the building has become more difficult recently.

2-Feb-2016, 09:54
... on graded Portriga Rapid paper.

No wonder it has such a lovely tone. That's a great photo.

Kirk Gittings
2-Feb-2016, 11:32

Monty McCutchen
2-Feb-2016, 19:11
As your friend it is not always easy to be objective, but I am always inspired to get my gear out and shake the doldrums off my dusty shoulders and get to work when I see your beautiful photographs either in person or online.


Pali K
2-Feb-2016, 21:51
Simply stunning! Enjoyed hearing the back story on the photos too.