Contact Sheet

Contact Sheet - Mineral Line, Ben Dolman 2016 : 8x10 BW Negative

The above photographs were done over two days this week, each photograph is of the same subject with very subtle changes in the placement of the tripod - the question I asked myself after developing the sequence of photographs is why did I do this when one photograph would have been sufficient. Normally I would shot just two 8x10 black and white negatives just in case there are technical issues whilst taking the photograph or during the developing the film. So why did I take eight photographs of the same subject, on the surface the subject is not complicated, the weather conditions were kind with even light from an overcast sky and the breeze was gentle to still. The cost of doing these photographs is expensive, 8x10 Ilford delta 100 film is not cheap, so what made me take the number of photographs. Was it some kind of performative act - nope, was it some kind or sequential documentary - nope, was it a technical exercise - nope, was it a uncertainty in trying to photograph the subject - nope, in the end I figured it was just the act of being.

The act of just being there, being in a particular place can give rise to a certain state of consciousness, sounds like hippy shit, maybe it is but sometimes one can have a calmness of mind by being in a certain place at a certain moment, a rare and delightful thing removed from our usual selfhood that seems only to want and remain unfulfilled. I did not just want to take a photograph the subject, I knew the first photograph I had taken would be perfectly fine and there was no need for further images to be taken, instead I was happy to be just there, looking and reflecting before taking another photograph.

Being content is becoming a uncommon state of mind these days as we become overwhelmed by our modern angst ridden times, to be content and be still for a moment is a rare thing, to just look and ponder on things, to be unconcerned by the modern distractions of celebrity driven mass media, atomised social media, consumerism, money, property, fancy cars, throw away fashions, and other instant gratifications. In this place I was content to be there for two days with the same subject carefully taking all the details and adjusting the camera to capture the scene. This disused industrial site where this tree resides allowed me to be myself, there was no pretence and no expectation, the place offered space and time to slowly experience a singular subject without any distractions.


Mineral Line, Ben Dolman 2016 : 8x10 BW Negative