Behind The Lens: Jérôme Tanon explains his 2014 Buyer’s Guide cover shot
Words— and cover— by Jérôme Tanon
Almo is a new French video crew, and we went to jib in Montreal. We all wanted to go to this famous “blue triangles” spot next to the highway. We got there and found out that you actually need to walk over the highway on a bridge, which was almost a mile away. We carried our gear and our heavy winch the entire way in the freezing cold… about -18°F.
Once there, we were exhausted, and after only a few warm-up tries the winch broke. What a joke! We carried it back, called it a day, and went looking for a new winch to rent.
The next day we adopted another strategy, stopping the car on the side lane of the highway and doing a super fast load-out in the middle of the traffic. Pretty sketchy, but way better! Morgan Lefaucheur, Fred Couderc and Laurent Duhalde sessioned the banked rail with 50-50s and boardslides up to various tricks out. Morgan with big bs-rodeos, Fred with fs270s and Laurent the young Frenchie with engaged one-foots. You need good speed to ride the triangle up, so Laurent didn’t do it too many times— just enough to get the trick in the box. With the breeze coming in from the river next to us, it was so cold that we couldn’t stop moving or we would freeze instantly. I was afraid my cameras would die, so I kept them next to my belly between every try.
I used the Pentax 6×7 medium format camera for the cover shot, with its beautiful wide-angle lens, loving the thrill of the “one shot, one chance” moment. With a Rollei RPX 400 film pushed one stop in the dim light, Laurent gave me two tries with that angle.
The second and last try of the day was the one, as I found out weeks later when I developed the film in my lab. I immediately recognized the potential of the negative, and put it in the enlarger. I couldn’t wait to try to print it with my newly acquired photo paper, Slavich Unibrom, which is very hard to find.
The oldschool Lith process can give an insane texture, very high contrast, and of course the big grain of the lith has a huge effect. It fit perfectly with the shot. After a bath of developer, and still under red light, I put the photo on a piece glass to apply more developer— I wanted to darken the corners more so the photo would focus well on Laurent. After a couple of sheets, I had the shot.
Laurent is in his first filming season and he is totally pumped about this cover, as you can imagine! I’m very glad as well, because black and white covers are very hard to get, and hand-made prints are always ten times more satisfying than scans. I’ll probably give the print to Laurent as a souvenir.