Cahute Preserves The Traditional Large Format Portrait Photography On Direct Positive Paper

All images by Cahute Studio. Used with permission. 

While the world now revolves around digital photography with the Megapickles race running rampant, there is still a movement of going back to and enjoying traditional approach in photography. Take Cahute for example–a portrait studio based in Finland that specializes in 8×10 large format camera on direct positive paper.

Cahute was founded by Jaana and Lorenzö, whom we had a pleasure of corresponding with. Jaana and Lorenzö strongly believe that photographs are made to last and should be in physical format that can be easily handled and passed on. They have a 1966 magnesium Calumet C1 camera and a 300mm Caltar lens mounted on a sturdy, heavy duty Linhof tripod #3233 in the older grey version. They claimed this creates a unique experience for people having their portraits taken in the studio, sitting still posing in front of an unusually large sized camera that exposed directly onto 8×10 paper.

When it came to the choice of paper and processing techniques, Jaana and Lorenzö prioritized environmental-friendliness, cost effectiveness, convenience of sourcing and manipulation of ingredients and simplicity to use on location. They ended up using Harman direct positive paper and caffenol, and the entire process can be found here. Another reason they chose Harman direct positive paper was due to its fibre base material that enables paper curling, movement or even stretching and shrinking in variance of the seasons and humidity in the air. In order to properly dry the paper under the Finnish climate, they had to use the drying press invented by Douglas Morse.

Looking at the final output that Jaana and Lorenzö created through their large format camera and choice of methodology in processing and paper, they have successfully produced portraits that stand out from the usual modern digital images. The photographs on direct positive paper evoked the organic feeling and while this is subjective, I can see so much life in the portraits created in this medium. Unlike the clean, sharp and almost technically perfect modern photography output, these portraits have soul in them. The magic is in the whole process of shooting, processing and physically handle the actual images on the papers.

Jaana and Lorenzö have also shared with us their dream of using an even larger camera, a 20×24 inches camera to make bigger images. You can check out their official site here.