"It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans
I think that your photograph is a good example of what 8x10 can achieve over 4x5. It's a very nice portrait. I like the bohah of having the eyes and face in focus, and parts of the sweater. Yet, other parts are out of focus in a way that emphasizes the important features of the photograph.
While I've had 8x10 for a while, and I recently purchased a second 8x10, I haven't done that much 8x10 photography. But, it doesn't strike me as that expensive. Large format is more deliberative, and less of a snapshot mentality. LF photography tends to make every negative count. So, the expense of an 8x10 negative doesn't seem that extreme, when one considers where it can lead. I think your photograph is a good example.
I have been fun learning how to shoot this 100 year old camera, 100 year old lens and 40 year old film. Me likey 8x10 for many reasons.
If you can find a medical clinic that still uses film for X-Rays, the automatic processor and its chemistry will be compatable with Tri-X (but not T-Max and other films). You may be able to work out a deal,barter or otherwise, that will cut out the cost of processing. The processor will take 8x1 sheets and turn out a dry negative within 90 sec or so.
Its not much, but its something.
Part of the Golden Age of portraiture was the retouching, which is a lot easier on larger film.
(And I assume those who dabble in the art of retouching today will not reach the level of expertise that was prevalent during that same Golden Age - so we need easier).
Rick "who has made 2x3 prints from 4x5 in an Omega D3, but it took a shorter lens not to require too much bellows draw" Denney
This is a lot of fun, and I don't have any anxiety about ruining a valuable original, and it works in conjunction with various masking techniques. A well made 6x7cm negative is capable of excellent 16x20 prints, and 4x5 is more than adequate up to 20x24, but I've been using mostly 35mm and MF negatives enlarged to 8x10 for carbon printing, because that's the limit of my exposing apparatus.
I disagree about the "golden age" retouchers' expertise eclipsing anything we might do. I've seen some of Hurrell's and Sinclair Bull's retouched negatives, and they were less than subtle. I can already do better, after a year or so of experimenting in my spare time. I'm sure they did it faster, and in greater volume, but that doesn't interest me. My goal is to make portraits that give nothing away in quality to any ever made by anyone. Not quite there yet, but I'm gaining!