Yosemite National Park

Let me take you back to the beginning of 2022, where my year started with an exciting adventure. I had the opportunity to take a trip to California, and my destination was Yosemite National Park. As a film photographer, I knew this was a location that held great significance. It was home to the Ansel Adams gallery and had a reputation for being an iconic spot to capture some breathtaking photographs. I had seen some of Ansel's prints online, but nothing could compare to seeing the original prints in person. The details, tonality, and micro-contrast were astounding. I was in awe of the incredible work that had been produced in this place.

One Step Closer

During my stay, I had the chance to shoot around 20 sheets of my favorite film, the ILFORD HP5+ 4x5. This film had been my go-to for the past five years as it was versatile and suitable for any condition. I could shoot it from iso 50 to 1600, and even if I overexposed by 5-6 stops (which I often did), it would still retain all the details in the highlights. When combined with a Red filter, the HP5+ film could produce dramatic and incredible results. As I exposed each sheet of film, my mind was already thinking about the end product. I always thought about how I would print each image in the darkroom. The anticipation of seeing the final result was a feeling that I relished. And with every shot, I was one step closer to creating the perfect print.


Volodymyr Demkiv

Half Dome - Silver gelatin print -Selenium toned - ILFORD Art 300 paper

Changed Forever

On February 24 2022 my life and life of millions of Ukrainians changed forever. I had to leave my home and move my family to a safe place. After a couple of weeks, we end up in Spain, Basque Country (Bizkaia). Film photography always was an escape for me from the digital world, and helped me to slow down, take time and clear up my thoughts. This time it was not the exception. But this time I used large-format film photography as an escape from reality and news coming from my home country.

Volodymyr Demkiv

Road in the mountains “BIZKAIA”. Film: ILFORD HP5+

Nature Guides Me

It's a location where the mountains meet the Atlantic Ocean, and it's so breathtaking that you'll forget all about your worries and responsibilities. Here, you can escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and just enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. As a large format photographer, this was the perfect place for me to get lost in my craft. I didn't have any specific images in my mind when I set out to shoot. Instead, I just let nature guide me. Whatever caught my eye would end up on the film. The beauty of black and white film is that you can shoot any time of day, and with the right filters, you can add your own personal touch to each shot.

Volodymyr Demkiv

Cascada de San Miguel de Angulo, Bizkaia, Spain.

Dolomite Mountains

I spent five months in this location, enjoying the slow pace of life and escaping reality. It was a place where cellular connectivity was non-existent, and I was happy to disconnect from the world. But eventually, I had to head back closer to my home country. On my way back, I had the chance to visit the Dolomite Mountains, another iconic location with incredible views. I was only there for a couple of days, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression on me. The views, especially in the early morning, were simply breathtaking. I knew that I would have to come back to this place again and again to truly experience all that it had to offer.

Bizarro Studio

The next destination was Krakow, Poland, a city steeped in history and rich in culture. It was here that I discovered a small, local darkroom known as Bizarro Studio (https://www.bizarro.pl). This was where my passion for darkroom printing really took off. With the help of the Bizarro Studio, I was able to print my silver gelatin photographs on 8x10 ILFORD MG FB classic paper. These prints were truly remarkable, and they ended up in a book titled "Bizkaia."


For me, darkroom printing was more than just a way to produce final prints; it was an opportunity to interpret each image in my own unique way. In the darkroom, I never made any notes on how the print was done. Instead, I started from scratch each time, allowing for a one-of-a-kind print with every attempt. At times, the end result was completely different from what I had originally envisioned, but that's the beauty of the process. The first print was always the most time-consuming, but once I had it as the final print, the rest of the prints came together easily as I had a feel for how the next print would look based on the negative density.

Overall, this process allowed me to fully immerse myself in my craft and enjoy every step of the way. Darkroom printing was not just a means to an end, but a true art form in itself.

Volodymyr Demkiv

Volodymyr Demkiv

From negative to final Print. Film: ILFORD HP5+, Paper ILFORD MG FB Classic.

Slowing Down

My journey with film photography started in 2018. I started shooting with a 35mm film camera Nikon FE2. From the start, I was developing films by myself. Gradually I moved to medium format and finally come to large format. Each step-increasing format was to slow down even more. Printing is a very important part of shooting film and I highly recommend printing your photographs.

The Book

The next steps for me are to scan silver-gelatin prints and self-publish my first book in 2023.  This book is a collection of breathtaking images, all taken on a large-format camera and printed in the darkroom to ensure the best quality and tonality. Each image tells a story and presents a mood, creating a meditation on the passage of time and the importance of being grounded in something bigger than ourselves.

The text in the book is equally powerful and thought-provoking, reminding us of our place in the world and our connection to the people and places around us. "To be away from home and watch everything from the outside. Getting lost in endless chains of news coming from everywhere. Trying to distance yourself at least a little from what is happening, but do not find salvation in it. One day it’s quiet, and the next you can’t believe what you see. Constant emotional swings. It’s a long waiting game: waiting for good news and a time when to go home."

I'm passionate about bringing this beautiful and meaningful book to life, and I need your help to make it happen. Your contribution will help me cover the costs of printing and publishing "Bizkaia," ensuring that it can be seen and appreciated by as many people as possible.

Kickstarter - www.kickstarter.com/projects/volodymyrdemkiv/bizkaia

Volodymyr Demkiv

Volodymyr Demkiv

“Bizkaia” dummy book which consist of 65 8x10 silver gelatin prints.

Images ©Volodymyr Demkiv