Sunday, 28 October 2012

The best camera.... the one you have with you, or so goes the oft-quoted saying. There is certainly a good deal of truth in this mantra, but in my case I suspect I've been using it to justify my reliance on my iPhone Hipstamatic app as my phone is of course always with me! At the last count, I discovered I had 15 cameras in the cupboard, many of which have not seen the light of day for 2/3 years or longer. There are both digital and film cameras, sundry lenses and two plastic bags of film in the fridge. The list includes 2 Nikon digital SLRs, a compact digital Leica (abandoned in haste on purchase of my iPhone!), a Fuji Finepix, a Mamiya RB 67 medium format (the beast), a Hasselblad medium format, a Pentax ME Super, an Olympus OM1, a plastic Holga and Coronet Flashmaster, a Polaroid Image System, a couple of autofocus old style film cameras dating from the 70s, and of course the ubiquitous iPhone. So plenty of scope there for carrying a different camera with me from time to time!

I have decided to blow the dust off some of these cameras and put them through their paces over the next few weeks. This may involve a bit of relearning of old techniques, especially where the film cameras are concerned. But I hope that it will prove to be useful, and if nothing else, I will get to use up some of that old film that is taking up room in my fridge.

First off, the Hasselblad, which to be honest, has not been gathering dust as I have used it quite a few times over the last year, but not since early summer. I took it off to Highgate cemetery last week to shoot a roll of black and white film as part of my ongoing series In the Midst of Life, a project examining memorial customs and traditions. Highgate cemetery is the last of London's 'magnificent seven' cemeteries on my 'to visit' list (more details here). I processed the film myself and scanned the negatives, but plan to go into the darkroom next week and make some prints. We are so used to viewing our images on computer screens these days, that the qualities of a well-made print can easily be forgotten.

The Hasselblad is relatively compact for a medium format camera and can easily be used without a tripod. It is a joy to use with its waist-level viewfinder, simple operating system and pin-sharp lenses and the square image is probably my favourite format. Working with medium-format film cameras makes you slow down - there is no in-built light meter so you have to use a hand-held one and of course, no checking to see what you have shot as with a digital camera. I usually only take one roll of film with me (12 shots) so try to make sure that every one counts.  Here are some of the results.....

More from the series can be seen here

No comments:

Post a Comment