Friday, September 5, 2014

Return to Kuhn Hospital in Black and White XP2 film

About a month ago, three Vicksburg friends and I toured the old and increasingly derelict Kuhn Memorial Hospital, formerly known as the State Charity Hospital. The address is 1422 Martin Luther King Blvd., Vicksburg, Mississippi, if you want to visit the site. I have written about the hulk before, and it is in worse condition than ever. Every bit of copper has been stripped from the inside. The roof is leaking.
This is the view looking out towards MLK Blvd. (formerly Openwod Road) from the hospital's ambulance entry. The house in the distance, possibly Civil War-era, is empty. There used to be another historic house just to the left.
I really like the gloomy old hallways because they lead your eye to the distance and have dramatic patterns of light and shadow.
This is one of the boilers for hot water, laundry, and heat (via radiators). The fuzz looks like fiberglass rather than asbestos.
This is one of the few pieces of furniture left in a 2nd floor room.

Camera notes: I used film in my Fujifilm medium format GW690II rangefinder camera. As an experiment, I tried Ilford XP2, a chromogenic black and white film that is processed in standard C41 chemicals. It is a color print film that has only monochrome dyes in the emulsion. A big advantage of this product is convenience; you can send it to any laboratory that still runs a C41 processing line. I exposed at ISO 200, measuring light with a Gossen Luna-Pro meter in incident mode. I scanned these XP2 negatives at 3200 dpi, but could have scanned at 4800 dpi and extracted even more data. These are resized jpeg files with no tinting or film simulation (after all, this was film). The lens on the Fuji GW690II has amazing resolution.

Conclusion: The XP2 has a long exposure range from pitch dark to glaring white, and it is amazingly fine grain. But, I just do not like the look, so in the future, I will return to using traditional silver-halide film, like Kodak Tri-X. I still have Panatomic-X in the freezer, Kodak's long-discontinued fine-grain ISO 32 film, which I develop in Agfa Rodinal developer.

Previous photographs of the hospital: March 2014;  July 2012
Mississippi Preservation had an article on the hospital in 2010. It describes some of the thinking behind closing the state charity hospitals.

Thanks to Rob Hood of Mississippi Film & Photo, David Childers of Twisted Carnival, and Kassie Childers.

September 3 update:

Here are two more black and white frames, from the former entry hall in the front building
I took these photographs with a 1962-vintage Leica M2 camera and a 35mm f/2.0 Summicron Type 4 lens. The film was Kodak BWC, also a C-41-processed film. In 35mm format, the chromogenic film may be more successful than in 120 format. The current name for this film is BW400CN. Kodak has discontinued it, so I recommend you stock up for future use.


As of March 2019, the Kuhn Hospital has been totally demolished.


Redoubt said...

Excellent series with your cam. Thanks!

Redoubt said...

Excellent series with your cam. Thanks!