I know it’s been a terribly long time since I’ve written anything new here. My apologies. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff in my personal life (new day job, burst pipe in my kitchen that flooded my basement, etc), so my productivity has been off the last couple months. I’m part of a group that shares studio time here, and we occasionally organize group shoots and hire a model. The group shoot thing has its frustrations (having to get consensus on lighting, for one thing, means you often get lighting setups that aren’t what you want) but when you’ve been out of your groove for a while, it’s nice to have a little spur to your creativity. I had been feeling a bit frustrated and in need of a spur, so I joined the shoot yesterday we had.
Another challenge that is uniquely mine in the group is the fact that I’m the only one shooting film, specifically medium format film. I work slower than the rest, and because I don’t have some huge-ass zoom lens, I have to get in close to take my shots, so people sometimes get a little cranky about me blocking them. When you get results like these, though, I think it’s worth it.
I’m sure you’ve seen a shot like this if you pay attention to fashion photography, but I wanted to give it a try. We were doing some more fashion-y shots with Kevin, and he was wearing this black leather jacket. He has these very striking eyes and I wanted to emphasize them. I think the jacket texture and the big zipper give a nice edgy feel to the image but the fact that they’re mostly out-of-focus drives your attention back to Kevin.
Because we were shooting with constant lights (fluorescents in softboxes, which I didn’t know we were going to do until I was already on-site), I was limited to shooting wide-open or nearly so in order to keep my shutter speeds hand-holdable. Had I known I would have brought Tri-X instead of FP4+. But I think all in all it worked out well – its fun and challenging to play with shallow depth-of-field on portraits. Using the Rolleinar makes it even more challenging because it brings you in closer, narrowing your DoF even further.
I have more from this to come, but in color – I’ll be developing the color film today and hopefully will have those posted tonight or tomorrow.
Since Photostock is all about photography, I thought I’d lead off this post with photos about cameras and taking pictures. The first photo is Jaime Young’s 9″ Cirkuit panoramic camera. A Cirkuit is just an ordinary Graflex field camera, but with some special modifications – it comes with a giant geared wheel and a series of reducing gears and flywheels to make it rotate up to 360 degrees and a special back that holds a 9″ tall roll of film. You can change the speed of rotation and the amount of rotation through changing gears and flywheels and adding stops to the large geared wheel. Jamie did a big group shot with the Cirkuit at the workshop facility dedication ceremony, where we had almost 70 people. The Cirkuit was absolutely needed this year to get the whole group shot done. One of the cool things about the Cirkuit is that because it rotates at a relatively slow speed, once the lens passes you, you can get up, run around, and get back in the picture, so you appear twice (or more). I’m itching to see the final print from the Cirkuit – some folks did just that, the run-around, and so they will be in the photo two, three, or in the case of one or two jokesters, even four times.
This is Steve Zimmerman, with his Rollei. We shot dueling Rollei photos of each other in a fit of silliness. His Rollei has a great story – he was out photographing in downtown Minneapolis, and some guy walked up to him and struck up a conversation about cameras and photography. The guy then pulls a BRAND NEW, IN ORIGINAL BOX Rolleiflex 2.8E, AND an equally brand new Leica M3 with the Summicron f2 lens out of a bag, and gives them to Steve for $100 each. Steve tried to pay him more (each of them was worth about 10x what he paid for them!) but the guy insisted on the cheap price, because “I know you’ll enjoy and appreciate them”.
Here’s Steve’s shot of me… why couldn’t he have photoshopped a full head of hair onto me? It would have helped compensate for the double chin…
Someone (I forget who) brought a beautiful RB Graflex Super D 4×5 SLR to the event. Here is Dan Lin, a fantastic photographer who I’ve done a print trade with before, playing with the Graflex. Alex L is in the background.
And here’s Judy Sherrod again, with her pinhole cameras. The one in front of her is the first version of her 20×20 wet plate pinhole box camera, made of plywood. It has since been retired and replaced with a new, better built one. The drum on the tripod behind her is an anamorphic pinhole. The pinhole is in the end of the tube, but the paper or film goes around the inside, instead of on the opposite wall of the camera. This works because of the way a pinhole works. The pinhole projects light in a very wide circle, not just a cone like a lens does. Doing so allows you to make some very different images.
Here’s Dorothy Kloss with her creepy doll. She likes collecting antique dolls, and the creepier the better.
It seems everyone has a Rolleiflex story somewhere or other. I was playing around with my Rollei and it reminded Dorothy that in some boxes of her father’s stuff, she has his old Rolleiflex, and maybe the Rolleinar close-up filters like I have and was using for the shot of her with the doll and this photo of the doll by itself. It inspired her to go dig through her dad’s stuff and find it when she got home.
Pele the Weimeraner. Pele was a great dog and a fine addition to the Photostock community. He is very attentive and friendly, and you can see in the subsequent photo of him with Arnaldo, his owner, very fixated on his ball.
Arnaldo, in the posing chair with head clamp, waiting for the wet plate collodion portrait that Andrew Moxom took of him to develop, playing with Pele.
Arnaldo. Arnaldo is a photographer from New York City. He drove to Photostock from New York in a 1980s vintage Porsche 944, and continued on to the Southwest (New Mexico and Arizona if I’m not mistaken) afterward.
Mat Marrash. Mat runs the Film Photography Project podcast, and does AMAZING 11×14 Infrared (!!!) photographs. Yes, I said 11×14, as in 11×14 inch film. He has a stock of Efke 11×14 infrared film that he’s working through – the Efke is no longer made, so once his stash is gone, that’s it.
Here’s a portrait of Dan Lin, without the Graflex, but with his pipe. I don’t think I got one of him wreathed in smoke from it, but I might have one like that on one of the remaining rolls from the trip I still have to develop.
And in the closer for this post, is Evan Schwab, the son of Bill Schwab, our host and organizer for the event. Evan is a terrific little guy, very smart and a good conversationalist. A kid even WC Fields could like.