My Studio Photography class had the following assignment: Using white paper and a white background, make the viewer feel or think about something other than paper.

My original idea was to produce gentle rolling hills at sunset, but paper will only bend into nice curves in one direction. So instead, I crumpled the paper up and then shaped it into jagged mountains. Using blue gelled lights I made the paper the color and shade of Nordic mountains, and with a red gelled light I created a sun in the orangish color of sunset. Finally a white light hit the mountains from behind to give them the nice “rim lit” look of a sunset.

In retrospect, the sky is black, when in fact it should realistically be red/orange and fairly bright. However, I think the surreal mood the black sky creates ends up being a positive. I’d love to hear comments for or against on this.

Shown below is the final image and a snapshot of the setup. For the uninitiated this type of camera shows the image upside-down and backwards when you look through it, so it’s not unheard of to shoot your subject upside down when the situation allows. In this case though, the paper is mounted upside-down because I thought I might add fog using a water-heater, allowing its steam to rise and fill in the valleys. I ran out of time before I was able to try this idea.

This was shot on 4″x5″ transparency film. This type of film costs US$2 a sheet and processing costs US$8. The resulting film can be scanned to 100-150 megapixels, which translates to a file size of around a gigabyte. A print can be made at 40″x48″ and still have every part of the print show sharp detail at a viewing distance of 10″. A print of this size or larger is not viewed at 10″ but at several feet, so in the practical sense there is no limit to how large a print can be made from this type of film.

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