Tag Archives: Hasselblad

La vie en France

Digging in some boxes the other day I found one of my first rolls of 120 film. I didn’t take many photographs of my life in France so this feels rather special.

Early summertime, just after cherry season.

The Renault 4, the only manual car I’ve ever driven. Bit of a mistake trying to learn in that, as the gear shift lever is under the dash and thus bears no resembling to driving in any other car. Second lesson was aborted early after 15 – yes, fifteen – stalls when I tried to move into first gear.

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Koreshan State Park

Florida is strange. Some of the first settlers in Lee County, who homesteaded before the turn of the 19th century, belonged to a cult. The Koreshans are long gone, in no small part because they believed in separation of the sexes and celibacy. That, and the fact that they suffered crushing disappointment when their Dear Leader failed to rise from the dead as promised.

When I visited, one of the volunteer wardens explained that the Koreshans believed that the Earth is a concave hollow – in other words, our heads are pointing toward the center of the Earth instead of at the Universe. Cyrus Teed, the founder of Koreshanity, offered a substantial sum of money to anyone who could disprove the theory – “and you know what?” she said, “To this day, no one’s been able to claim the reward!”

Seemed a bit pointless to debate the matter with her.

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At work

MJR have launched a new grant for photographers who shoot with film cameras. They’re offering film to the tune of $500 to work on a project. The slideshow that Ying Ang and Ling Ang put together is beautiful (and my work is right at the beginning!).

So in a tribute to them, a couple of photographs from their visit to Florida. You can see some of the photos from this abandoned gas station on Ying’s facebook album.

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Blue #1

You should be shooting right now, he said. You should be shooting the sky and the sea, and how they’ve become one today. Like that Japanese photographer does.

The rain obliterated the view of Rio, the islands, Christ the Redeemer, and the little boats. At first meditative and cooling, the rain turned deadly, turning earth into mud and bringing homes down with it. The death toll topped 200 in the end. It didn’t stop raining for about four days; I was on a plane out of there after the first two.

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Portraits are difficult for me. I am sure that my awkwardness in asking permission makes my subject feel awkward, and a vicious cycle is created. But occasionally I get it right.

Mother and child, Rajasthan, India

This young woman was married to a slightly older man, and this is their second son. They kindly invited me into their home after I turned up unannounced at their wall, and let to take as many pictures as I wanted. She was shy, and wanted me to photograph only her children and her husband. But with a little persistent interest on my part, she finally stopped preparing chai and posed with her son.

Brothers, Rajasthan, India

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Camera karma

One of my friends breaks compact digital cameras like it’s her job. She handles disposable film cameras like a pro, it’s just the little newfangled ones that commit suicide in her hands.

I can sympathise because I’ve been cursed by bad photo juju and I’m not sure why. In the past sixth months I’ve lost two rolls of 36-exposure 35mm film to an untuned Rollei 35 and any number of frames to a 120 film back that needs calibrating (which was sent off for repair to skilled expert who sadly passed away while my film back was in transit). The replacement back is faulty and results in double exposures. On top of that my scans are all over the place. (Do I dare mention the broken Canon L-lens?).

The result? More time spent on fixing equipment and trying to figure out software than on photographing and editing.

The two rolls of ruined film are what really bother me. I can remember the still frames in my head but there they shall remain. Staircases on a brick building in New York, perfectly lit in the winter sun; a cab ride with friends; the best caipirinhas in Rio State; a garden full of gnomes.

Does anyone know how to fix bad camera karma?

A happy accident for once. Double exposure thanks to my broken 120 film back.

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It was Ying that made me do it.

I’m nervous about a public blog. Who wants to read what I write? Who wants to see my pictures?

But I have to do something. So this is it.

Ying – I blame you.

Somewhere on the road, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India. July 2009. Stuck on a hairpin bend.

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