I went to the local Nashville photo store today. We still have two, but only one still carries any significant amount of black and white chemicals/paper. The store has all the cameras (digital) in the front and the supplies (inkjet paper, lighting supplies, seamless backdrop, and chemicals) are in the back. I walked to the rear of the store; right to the isle where the paper and chemicals used to be, and nothing…notta. It was gone. I thought well that’s it, Nashville no longer has a traditional photography store. I started to feel a little bad about not supporting them enough and then I found where they had moved everything. The paper had been shifted over a few isle to the far left and the chemicals were in the very back of the store in the corner. I was off the hook.
I started digging through the shelves. I had come to get a 5 Liter jug of Hypam fixer, but they were out. I picked up some Kodak rapid fix instead, grabbed a roll of white seamless, and made my way to the front to check out. I figured I would ask the clerk if he thought there might be some Hypam hiding somewhere amongst the clutter; computer said yes, clerk also thought yes. So we both headed back to the chemical corner to hunt around some more. While the clerk was shuffling around boxes looking for that case of Hypam; I noticed some large gold paper boxes crammed up behind the shelf. I asked the clerk if I could pull them out, he said sure. They were Forte Polywarmtone Variable Contrast Fiber Semi-matte, 20×24 – 50 sheet boxes; i.e. big expensive paper that is no longer made. They were also old and semi-open. I figured I would ask and see if the clerk would let me take them with me seeing as they were probably ruined, he said sure no problem they couldn’t sell them. I tried to act unexcited. I told myself that there was no way I was walking out of this store with $460 worth of paper, for free, but I did, and it is beautiful stuff. There is no fog and only the slightest edge burn on one box.
I love how paper can inspire you. It’s one of the things that I love most about photography. The materials can inspire you, especially when they are free.