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The making of ‘Steam’

My dad walks into my bedroom and asks, “Where’s the Zenit?, Are you still using it?”. I confessed I hadn’t used it much in the last year and that it still had a roll of B&W film in it. “Well, why don’t you try something out tonight?”, he prodded. And so it began!

I found my mom cooking and just about to put the pressure cooker on the stove. After two minutes spent convincing her that I was up to some good, I quickly setup the scene. The Zenit was mounted on the tripod, with the Helios 50mm lens pre-fitted. Next came the lighting that you see on the top-left of the image. Found an old, disused, but still working emergency lamp (with fluorescent tubes) and slapped on a lamp shade around it. This was to diffuse the light and not shine on the cooker harshly.

And then basically waited for the steam to escape! Every time the cooker whistled, I shot off a frame with varying settings – open up the aperture, change the shutter, change the metering spot etc; And since we have a cooker that goes whistle at least 20 times, I had plenty of chances to get it right :-)

The hard part came after the shoot. Where to develop the film? Good quality manual film processing and that too for B&W is very hard to do in India these days. But there are a handful of places left and one such is Karthik’s in Chennai. So, off went my roll there, with the finished strips arriving a week later. Once the strips came back, I ran them through the excellent scanner at Victory Labs in Ameerpet, Hyderabad.

And there you have it – Steam!


Did you use the whole roll on the cooker or did you get other stuff too? Would like to see some more…

Posted by Afrin on 6 January 2009 @ 1pm

Almost the entire roll. The rest of the shots were of even more mundane things like bread boxes and Pepsi bottles :-)

Posted by bharath on 6 January 2009 @ 3pm

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Posted by kapalbhati on 29 March 2011 @ 12am

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