Retro. Medium format film. Giulia Piolanti, ballerina Cirque du Soleil. Photographed in San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy. This fibre print fresh out of my darkroom. One of a kind.

I am now ONLY interested in medium format film. Totally set to process film and print at home. A luxury beyond all. At the same time I am shooting also with my iPhone and mixing retro with 5 minutes ago. I mean why not?

Who says things must be “boxed” and in “order”? Life does come in sequence, yet memory and perception are abstract.

This is what photography IS.

If you only wanted “reality”, then no need to pick up pen, or brush, or camera.


29 thoughts on “Giulia”

  1. This picture of the print does not do the actual photo justice! Such a beautiful one though.

  2. David…

    At the start of the RoadTrip you did with your son Bryan, Candy and Panos you mentioned you were going to try out and test if the Leica S2 could make better prints than your Mamiya 6×7. Did it finally fail the test or is the tactile feeling of a real BW print just too alluring compared to an inkjet print?

  3. BTW lovey, lovely image. There’s something “real” about a traditional print that man just cannot imitate with all our technology. It’s alchemy and only partly man made the rest is up to nature.

  4. Oh another thing… This post is highly highly inspiring, at least to me. In fact I’m feeling in high spirits, all this BurnDiary fun is highly invigorating and inspirational.

  5. PAUL

    you know it is funny, i always think i am going to make a “test”….but then i never do it….for my whole photo life i never actually scientifically tested anything!! as in compared by testing one lens or another or even one film over another using the classic scientific method…

    honestly the S2 is just a bit unwieldy to use….for example is is probably “better” than the D800 (guessing) yet for sure the D800 flows so much easier for me and for digital i find it to be rather amazing…so if i had to go shoot a picture right this minute and i wanted a super digi file, for sure i would pick up the D800…fast autofocus even in the dark and a beautiful file…on a “test stand” maybe the S2 would deliver a better file for whatever reasons…i do not know…i will never know….i could never get the S2 to focus fast so even if it is better theoretically, if i can’t focus then well what is the point?

    you were asking specifically about comparing the S2 print with the Mamiya VII print…ha ha, i have no idea….and now the problem is with the Mamiya VII and with my Bessa and with my Fuji 6×9 i am shooting all TriX and i am sure i will never get around to actually making a b&w print from either the D800 or the S2 ..i will probably never compare a b&w inkjet of the same subject with a fibre silver print of the same…there are so so many variables..from enlarger lens to who makes the b&w inkjet etc etc etc..anyway i wish somebody would do this!! it just won’t be me…..

    all i know is exactly what you know….those big negs make stellar prints…and i can make them…all by myself…i am totally self contained now at home so to speak…i can walk out the door w my Mamiya and a roll of TriX, make a picture, come back and process the film, have lunch while the film dries and have a print before dinner…now anybody could say well hell you can walk out the door w any digi and have a print before breakfast…yes you can of course…but you don’t…or i don’t anyway….a final print is NECESSARY with film….

    somehow for some reason digi files stay mostly hidden on my hard drives…i do not feel compelled to make a print unless i have a show or a book is coming or whatever…not sure why..and i need mike courvoisier to make those prints…i can’t do it…..whereas with film i feel compelled to print and i am a really good printer…….yet in the most relaxed and natural way…with film one is an artisan…maybe an artist…but for sure an artisan….

    i love being an artisan…maybe clay pots are next!!!

    cheers, david

  6. David, put some emulsion on those clay pots and then you can print your medium format film on them and you will be an artisan twice over. Plus, I will buy one from you and store my oatmeal in it. Right now, I have no good place to store oatmeal other than the box it comes in, which does the job just fine.

  7. KAYA

    thank you so much for really getting my darkroom set up and rolling!! i will procrastinate forever on some things, and yet you just got in there and did it….plus with a lot of laughter and fun and we got things DONE….that is the best combo all around….

    oh my , and you FOUND those “lost” Tell It Like It Is negatives!! whew!! bless you….

    you made this beautiful print of Giulia….i went in and made a few more, but i did not do better than did you!

    mostly, while setting up the darkroom you managed also to make a few really nice pictures for BurnDiary….so, good on you….i want that print too of the girl coming up the dune…would look great on my wall and so so appropriate….

    again, thanks for driving all the way down…

    your light shines….

    cheers, david


    well i have never before been challenged to make anything that practical…yet the right pot with the right image could in fact be USEFUL for a long time….although honestly don’t you like the Quaker Oats guy? i mean THAT is a classic box…remember the old round ones? do they still make those? if so , yes, emulsion on a round Quaker Oats box might just be very interesting…or, i become Richard Prince and steal the Quaker Oats guy and make a big wall print…hmmmmmm…you got me thinking…..

    cheers, david

  9. PAUL

    oh i forgot to mention, there is one other thing i will try…and that is starting with a digi file and ending up with a silver print in the darkroom, maybe even a platinum print….

    i will have mike make a large (maybe 16×20) digi negative on his Epson inkjet printer…i will take this digi negative to the darkroom and make a contact print and either process silver or platinum….i have seen some very nice results from this process , yet not 100% convinced it is totally worth it….we will see

    cheers, david

  10. Up late, aren’t we. For me, the wheel has turned back around to video-ish stuff. Whatever gets us through the night, eh?

  11. I love the Quaker Oats guy. Yes, they do still make the round ones. So what you need to do is photograph the round box with the Quaker Oats guy and print that on the pot. You don’t need to respond – just do it!

  12. i have seen some very nice results from this process , yet not 100% convinced it is totally worth it….we will see

    …………….stuff like this is always worth it
    Right now I am putting a book together all to be hand coloured in water based oils,image making for me is almost solely dedicated to books.

  13. MW

    my body clock went awry…fell asleep like really really early at sundown…a siesta gone too long…then woke up and well this is the result….


    love your hand made books to be sure…you are right …the hand made process is always worth it…the platinum/palladium process will take me some time to learn…in the meantime, silver works….


    i must have had too much time on my hands…i Googled the Quaker Oats guy….pretty interesting history to that company…i wish i actually liked oatmeal..as a kid oatmeal was always something i felt forced to eat…only way i could do it was to put on enough sugar to kill a horse….i will give it another try though…..

    cheers, david

  14. David…

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who continually hordes digital files without hardly ever printing. For the life of me I can’t find the reason I don’t. I even used to print a hell of a lot more of my Velvia slides. I’ve got two enlargers always setup in my study, so I’m going to blatantly follow your idea. This will hopefully silence my wife for once and all who is continually complaining about not seeing enough prints hanging on our walls. Oh and all this reminds me I still owe Eva two digital prints…

  15. a civilian-mass audience

    What not to love !!!

    Viva GIULIA and KAYA and MR.HARVEY and your cameras,your printers and Viva BURN !!!

  16. I also love the surprise element and the slight uncertainty about film where success isn’t confirmed until developed.

  17. David…

    The only slight rub with medium format film I found this weekend is getting into the “zone” can be quite expensive. Do you shoot a lot less with film?

  18. PAUL

    well yes i do shoot less with film, but i think it is more a function of the larger format and my often use of the tripod that slows me down…per picture yes i guess film is more expensive but i do not stop and think cost of shot before pressing the shutter…i probably should but i don’t….digi i guess is less in theory but i am not so sure in reality…seems to me my costs for hard drives and a new camera all the time drives the cost right back up there….yet Paul nobody describes me as an astute money manager….i sorta stay broke no matter what….yet i do have a good time doing it!!

    cheers, david

  19. @ ALL:

    I started photography, shooting with film and it allowed me, not to take so many pictures and think about it, composition above all, before pull the trigger…only have 36 images… not 1000 like now… in a simple compact flash card.

    More important to me, is not “chimping” every time to the see the result, so I can be concentrated of what’s going on out there. Another philosophy. Descartes philosophy.
    “Think then shoot”, looking for the picture, but sometimes “Shoot then let’s see what happen”, is also nice…

    @ DAVID:

    Nice atmosphère in Giulia’s bedroom, in Toscana. There is another picture, following this serie, that I’ve really like: The Lavazza girl, in Italy as well. ;-)

    Shine. P.

  20. Patricio…

    The points you mention are quite right indeed. I gave up shooting 8×10 after my second son was born. I can assure you, one thinks looks and shoots slowly with that beast. My best images always come about when I kind of get into a frenzy where I just hang on and let inspiration and intuition run free. If I think it over too much I just lose all feeling.

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