I set up my darkroom and took a hot coffee to the end of the garden, where I sat down on a marble bench to watch the light and shadows inside a large fern, which for many years adorned the corner of my garden.
Half an hour later I went back to the darkroom, turned the music on and slipped into my world.
Today I was going to print large photographs taken five days previously at the Royal Festival Hall in London. I placed the film inside an enlarger, set the focus, arranged the Agfa Record Rapid paper underneath, exposed and gently slipped it into the developer. It takes one hundred and eighty seconds for an image to reach its depth and contrast. During that time, out of nothingness, out of a rectangular, blank sheet, shapes slowly emerge, transformed by a chemical process into the intricate scene that I’d captured some time before in a fraction of a second.
I leaned over the image, still submerged in the developer, and watched as the musicians with their instruments became clearer and clearer, the velvety blackness of space getting darker and darker. Above all I was observing the figure of the conductor, who was leading a large orchestra with his gesture.
It is amazing to see how influential and powerful our hands are.