Dead Weight: Tony Irons’ Large and Medium Format Film Photography

I recently produced a documentary on fine art photographer Tony Irons, showcasing his new photography exhibit entitled “Dead Weight.” The collection includes images created in a studio setting on large format film and landscapes photographed in and around Taipei, Taiwan.

The documentary captures Irons as he works in his studio producing images on large format cameras and film. Irons discusses many aspects of the project, and goes into detail about why he still chooses to utilize film for fine art photography projects.

For “Dead Weight,” Irons relied on a Shen-Hao 4x5 camera with a 150mm lens and Kodak Portra 160 film. The black and white images were captured with a Hasselblad 500cm loaded with Kodak T-Max 100 film. Irons chose a Mamiya 7ii and 65mm f/4 lens for the images he created in Taipei. Those were taken using Kodak 160/400 Portra film.

Irons scanned the negatives with an Epson v750-M Pro scanner using a KAMI wet mount solution from Aztek in Irvine, California.

After processing, the images were printed on Ilford paper with Epson inks. The show currently features a mix of 22x28-inch prints, 30x30-inch prints, and 40x50-inch prints. The particular paper Irons used for the prints has becoming virtually unobtainable, as Ilford struggles through another corporate restructuring and production delay.

Irons resides in Columbia, Missouri. His recent projects, besides ‘Dead Weight’, include a series of images from Palm Springs and Southern California. Irons’ work has been featured on PBS. Given his penchant for mid-century modern architecture and design, it’s no surprise that his images have been featured in Elle Decor, Atomic Ranch and Modernism magazines.

Aaron Ottis's picture

Aaron is a photographer living in the Midwestern United States.

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Crazy. I met Tony several years ago when I lived in Columbia as well and he worked at the local camera shop. Always a really nice guy! Stoked to see he's doing some awesome stuff.

Anthony, did we meet by chance at the Flash Bus StL? I feel like we did.

Also, Tony is great. He's crazy knowledgeable about all kinds of camera things.

Maybe? I can't recall, it was a long time ago it feels like haha.

If you met a tall guy with a lot of tattoos in his mid 20s, it was most likely me. I feel like I might have been the only heavily tattooed person there.

Yes. I think I sat in the row behind you. I remember talking about Thrashonistas.

Good content destroyed by bad audio...

Thanks for the comment.

I couldn't get past about a minute in due to the terrible audio.

Then you missed 15 minutes of good information. Thanks for the comment.

It's unfortunate that he has to scan his images with a flatbed scanner. All of them, including the Epson, are pre-focused, which means even mounted in fluid you never get perfectly accurate focus on your film (there are always shifts, from the units being shipped and handled since leaving the factory, and even factory units not properly calibrated). The software compensates for this by applying sharpening, which just adds noise to the image. It's sad that there are no large format scanning options that allow you accurate focus and and have a high-quality scanning sensor (the Epson is an old school design with CCDs and a fluorescent light source). The last great scanner (even though it too had CCDs) was the Nikon Coolscan 9000, but that only scanned up to medium format film.

Thanks for sharing the video. It is great to keep people excited about film photography.