He continues to use sheet film for its slower pace, because it’s tactile, and for its inherent aesthetics. Although now considered an alternative photographic process, Alex still practises traditional darkroom printmaking using fibre
“Alex Bond knows when not to take a photograph. His approach to capturing the WA landscape on film is based on patience and attunement. The results have found a worldwide audience.”
Stephen Scourfield, The West Magazine, The West Australian Newspaper
While everyone else had a real job I spent more than 25 years hiking and camping in southwest Western Australia. With my trusty wooden field camera and a few sheets of film, you can find me out on the coast, in the bush or exploring some peak.
I enjoy going for long walks. It gives me time to become immersed in my surroundings. In my backpack, I carry my field camera, film, tripod and sometimes a tent and food.
I find landscapes inspiring, whether it be a grand scene or an intimate detail. The West has a unique and ancient landscape. Our quality of light is both as hard as it is voluminous. It provides me with a continual challenge to reproduce that quality within the limitations of a photograph.
Film cameras and light sensitive photographic paper
My introduction to large format film landscape photography was in the era of film cameras and light-sensitive photographic paper. Film cameras such as my field camera are very simple and robust. I am frequently working outdoors in rain, dusty or salty conditions. My wooden 4×5 film camera does not require any batteries and is lighter than a digital SLR.
Hand Crafted Silver Gelatin Photographic Prints
I develop my film in a tank and print my photographs in a traditional wet darkroom. By today’s standards, it is neither fast nor easy. But it is a process I maintain to this day. It remains alongside my digital workflow.
Printmaking by hand is the final and possibly most important act in this creative cycle. This level of involvement gives an unquestioning intention and authenticity to a photographer’s works.
My photography is not motivated by following the next new thing. There is already so much here in front of us if we could only improve our awareness, look and see. I explore my subject over a period of years. I do not plan to extract, I work to discover. Many of my images fail, but those I’m happy with
Bushwalking with a 4×5 camera. Traditional darkroom print making.