You may be wondering about the vertical spaces, or gaps, in my panoramic images. They are at once both an artifact of my process and a solution to the challenge of framing a very large piece.
I make these images using a view camera and sheet film. In order to make panoramic images, I use multiple sheets of film that line up with each other. In a nutshell, the spaces are where the edges of two sheets of film meet.
If you have ever seen the edge of piece of film, sheet film or roll film, then you know that the image does not go right to the edge. If you are looking at a negative, then you see the clear orange film base. If you are looking at positive film (transparency or slide) or a print, then you see black.
Film is plastic, and it tends to curl. It would not be possible to make images that are actually in focus if the film were to curl. Therefore, film cameras are designed to hold the film flat. By the way, the unexposed film edge is called the rebate.
When I began defining my process, I was enamored of Henri Cartier-Bresson. There is much to say about this great artist, but the important bit here is that he inspired me to show the film edge in my prints.
When you see the film edge in a print, then you are being told that the composition was made in the camera not by cropping during printmaking. It is both a statement of the artist’s vision and technical proficiency in one fell swoop.
When a photographer is able to do it as well as Cartier-Bresson did, it requires full immersion in the capture of the image. Cartier-Bresson famously coined the phrase, “decisive moment,” to describe a successful photograph.