Shacks by the Sea

© Alan V. Hansen

Shacks by the Sea

Uploaded: January 17, 2002


B&W photo from the coast of France near Bretagne. Copied through a piece of glas coated with a thin layer of vaseline to blur the dark areas. Additionally a very thin layer of sand (!) was sprinkled to the sticky surface to make grain. Pentax Spotmatic.


Staci A. Coblentz February 06, 2002

Great mood, and composition. Any more like this I can peek at? Sounds like you have fun in the darkroom. #3386

Alan V. Hansen February 08, 2002

Thank you Stacy.
I don't have much more like this. It was a tecnique I used a few years ago, but I only tried it in a few cases. Other eksperiments included writing on the glas that was put on the unexposed paper - or using glas with different structures. But this is my best shot.
About having fun in the darkroom: I used to - but haven't had the red bulb turned on for at least 2 or three years. Now I generally have my film processed and copied 'in town', then scanning the ones I like and eventually work on them in Photoshop. And recently - a few months ago - I bought a relatively simle digital camera (AGFA CL20) and I'm now having som fun with this (and my nondigital Canon EOS). But I have spend lots of good hours in the darkroom since I was maybe five or six years old - in the beginning helping my father. #5353

Staci A. Coblentz February 08, 2002

Shacks by the Sea is prize worthy. Do you have a website for viewing more of your work? (email #5355

Alan V. Hansen February 10, 2002

Hi again Staci
I do have a site located at this quite unhandy address:
It is pictures quite different from the black & white photo of the shacks - so you may be disappointed... Or surpirzed... Or...
Anyway: I hope you like what you see - and I'm also uploading images to the contest regulary. These days you can se some more or less abtract pictures of a ceiling!
Kindest regards
:-) Alan #5389

Gerard March 16, 2002

Alan, I don't want to offend or discourage but I am somewhat puzzled by many photographs that seem to defy all ordinary parameters. The sky is absolutely devoid of any interest at all and the shacks are in deep shadow. Now I am prepared to admit my ignorance of so called art techniques and would love someone more knowledgable than me to perhaps point me in the right direction. Or maybe my computter is not showing this image as bright as it should be. Once again please take this as a genuine enquiry and not in any way a discouragement to your experiments.
sincerely.......Gerard #6088

Alan V. Hansen March 22, 2002

Hi Gerard
- no offence taken! It's quite ok not to "buy" art techniques, whatever that they are. But if you choose not to focus on art, techniques, ways things ought to be and... well whatever - and just look at the picture, the question is: Is it interesting, is is apealing (in any way - good or bad or...). I'm sure I'm not in the position to point you in the right direction, wheater what is rigt and what is wrong: I mean, who knows when you should obey the rules, when you should break them. And who are the judge? Only two: The one who makes the picture, and the one who looks at it. Their feelings and opinions may differ: that just makes the world even more interesting. About your computer: I agree, the sky is quite absent and therefore uninteresting - but the shacks are not in deep shadow on my screen - and indeed not on the original paper print. And don't wory - you wont discourage me, it't some years ago I was experimenting in this way. These days I'm a seldom guest in my darkroom. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion - that's indeed appreciated!

Thanks again
- from the not more knowledgeable
Alan :-) #6182

Gerard March 22, 2002

Thanks Alan for your thoughts. I guess I am sufferring from what I call CAMERACLUBITIS SYNDROME.
One gets so used to so called judges pontificating about what is good photography and what is not, that one forgets to have fun and experiment.
I am at present going through a phase where I am questioning the values of so called art photography and I guess I am too much concerned with the actual photograph rather than appreciating the mood and motive of the photographer. I am getting a lot of good stuff on the usefilm website and am beginning to see a completely new approach to photography.
So forgive my original ignorant comments and keep up the good work.
Cheers........Gerard #6184

Alan V. Hansen March 25, 2002

Cameraclubitis Syndrome... well that's something. But I'm not sure this syndrome is that serious - actually serious concerns about pictures couldn't be a disease, could it? And after all - I think that considering what is good tecnique, good composition, idea i.e. is always important. And you beeing ignorant... no way.
Alan :-)
P.S. Happy times are back again - spring is comming to Denmark these days! #6270

Mark V. Fedkin March 25, 2002

very abstract asymmetry.. There is definitely someting very special about this picture. Grain looks awesome.. Did I understand right that you printed this photo through the glass placed over paper? #6274

Alan V. Hansen March 27, 2002

Hi Mark
Thank you for commenting on the picture. Yes, you're right about the printing-proces: The glass was made a little sticky (with vaseline)to hold the grains of sand that I poured over the glass-plate. Then it was placed over the photographic paper and finally exposed - you can say, that the glass-plate has served as a kind of filter. If you try it - be careful to make the layer of sand as thin as possible.
Alan:-) #6318

Katherine Chan April 15, 2002

Very interesting experiment. That's the fun of art! Sometimes craftmanship has more fun than modern technology - though PhotoShop is probably used more than glass plate these days. =) #6983

Colin Bell April 21, 2002

Hi Alan,
Awesome picture, When I saw the small thumbnail pic, I wasn't to impressed. I enlarged it, and was blown away.
I also noted that you didn't break any rules. The pic is a exellent example of the "thirds rule", I think the most common rule in composition.
The shacks are a third of the way up the shot, and the three shacks divide the shot vertically in to three.
Keep up the good work. #7170

Alan V. Hansen April 21, 2002

Hi Colin
I'm happy that your experience of the photo was positive, when you had "a closer look". And fortunately all the classic rules of creating images - weather you're van Gogh or just me - often are present more or less by themselves, simply because they always give the picture a certain harmoni or balance.
But on the other hand: In lots of situations breaking the rules may ad other things to the picture
Thanks a lot for your comments, Colin And I'll do my best!
Kindest regards
Alan :-) #7177

June 09, 2002

Just wanted to say that you have a great photo here... as for breaking the rules... what rules?

I like the sand and the composition... truly irreproducible results.

cjb #8513

Alan V. Hansen June 17, 2002

Thanks a lot Christopher
- and sorry I was a little late to give you an answer back. (I haven't checked my my mail for a little while).
And I agree: Rules are only there - not to be broken - but to be used as guidelines when you improvise and use your creativity. In the end it's all about, what you see and the experience of the final picture.
Alan :-) #8834

July 19, 2002

Personally, I'm just glad someone uses the darkroom instead of the computer than just me! You can do a lot more in the dark than with software. #9840

July 30, 2002

My first thought was......2nd place? But after looking at the photo for a few minutes I notice the devoid bright sky makes for stark contrast, and your and your sand and vaseline add just enough blur to make one think of painting strokes. Congrats to you. I would have been too hasty and missed this photo the first time around.

Branson #10366

Alan V. Hansen July 31, 2002

Hi Branson
Thanks a lot for your comments - and for taking a closer look at the picture. I'm glad you find, that it was worth it.
Smiles from Denmark
Alan :-) #10383

Ryan P. Booth May 26, 2019


I noticed that it has been awile since someone commented on your photograph...thought that I might revive the discussion. I really enjoy the mood of this is rather captivating. I was this in Carroles? I sure looks like these rows of shacks right there on the beach. Keep up the good work...(I really appreciate the dark room seems that I am maturing as a photographer on the tail end of true darkroom work...)

Ryan #25169

Alan V. Hansen May 26, 2019

Hi Ryan
Than you for "reviving" the discussion. To be honest, I don't remember exactly where on the coast in Bretagne the picture was shot. We were on our way to Paris im our little car (all the way from Denmark) and we only stayed here one night (Camping). And It is some years ago, now. But maybe my wife remembers the exact spot, so if she does, I´ll give you a hint!
Hope you enjoy the "dark room life".
Alan :-) #25951

May 26, 2019

I really like your vision #55662

Wes Kroninger May 26, 2019

Hey Alen, great shot. Have you ever tried printing through the back of your paper? It makes the image reverse but I tried it and if the picture is "right" for the look it makes its an awsome trick. Gives it an old antique feel. Looks really cool with scenic and landscape photos. Give it a try I think you'll like it.

Wes #70662

Alan V. Hansen May 26, 2019

Hi Wes
Actually I have...! And you're right, it gives a kind of old, Daguerre-like impression... I even tried to expose a little piece of photographic paper in the camera (several seconds), thus getting a paper negative, putting this in my enlarger and exposing another piece of paper through the "negative"paper (for a very long time!) and finally having a positive print on paper even more "old" - but honestly I have not made fabulous pictures this way, but still it's funny to do things in another way than just the ordinary. And in a kind of spooky way it feels more or less like inventing photograpy again... even though it's not!
Alan #71140

Craig A. Rose May 26, 2019

Amazing image! Thanks for sharing this one and congrats on taking second place. Have to hand it to you for taking the extra step to apply a film to the lens. This is a wonderful example of what I like to call a "dream captured." Excellent vision!

Craig #83068

Alan V. Hansen May 26, 2019

Hi Craig
Thank you - I´m very happy for your nice comments and a bit proud too - so... thanks a lot!
Alan :-) #85640

Kathleen R. Struckle May 26, 2019

Alan, I love everything about the photo. Grat work. Kathy S. #128821

Alan V. Hansen May 26, 2019

Hi Kathleen
Even though it´s been quite a while since I uploaded the picture, obviously there is still someone who looks at it - and some even likes it... and I'm happy that you did. Thanks a lot, Kathleen!
Alan :-) #128982

Melissa Williams July 08, 2003

It very much looks like a picture I would read about in my History of Photography class. B&W, grainy, and experimental. Experimentation and creativity are the most fun parts of photography. I've got many ideas I'm dying to try out as soon as I get back into a darkroom one of these days. Many involoving the glass that lays on the paper. Do you also experiment with multiple exposures while printing? That can be neat to, or a picture in a photogram. #137759

Alan V. Hansen July 10, 2003

Hi Melissa
First of all, thank you for your nice commets - and have a good time in your Photography class and - not less - in the darkroom. I agree that the print looks "ancient", and in my opinion it brings a little mystery to the picture.
About the darkroom work: Yes, I have tried a few tricks in the darkroom - one involving an extra exposure during the development and using very hard paper. It gives a special tonation plus (sometimes) a solarized effect. It´s difficult to predict the result, but it sure is worth trying. Again and again. I put the wet - partially developed picture back after the first exposure - turns on the light again for a little ekstra time in another exposure. Then back in the developer. And depending on the first and second developing time and the amount of light during the two exposures - and the preciseness of the replacement of the paper (it always changes a little bit in size when wet)you come up with a different result every time. And sometimes even worth looking at!
Good luck in the dark.
Alan :-) #139057

Melissa Williams July 10, 2003

If you carefully wipe a window squeegee across the paper it can help with the water marks when exposing wet paper. #139755

Alan V. Hansen July 11, 2003

Hi Melissa
Good idea! Thank you.
Alan :-) #139866

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