4x5 film camera


camera-insanity of 2013.

i decided to try and find pictures of all the analogue cameras i’ve taken photos with (in roughly chronological order), over the course of 2013 - since i wasn’t sure i could remember them all:

rolleiflex old standard, kiev 60, agfa optima 1035, agfa box 50, agfa clack, canon ae-1, zeiss ikon donata, rolleiflex f 3.5, nikon em, konica fs-1, sinar f2

(in some sense this is only the tip of the iceberg: i have/had multiple copies of at least two of these cameras, and there were quite a number of lenses involved that aren’t pictured here)

five of these have gone back to ebay in the meantime - which means that i still have way too many cameras.

I see that beautiful spirit
Floating there with the darkness

Unique in all the Universe

Not appeared accidentally
Not created deliberately
It… simply… just… happened

I made this picture in 1994 as a student at OIP&T (The Ohio Institute of Photography & Technology) in Dayton, OH. It was my first attempt at using a view camera, 4x5. This was before the digital revolution really took hold. I was 18 years old, full of ambition, optimism and eager to learn photography very well. Finally getting my hands on a view camera really did fill me with joy. I sort of knew what I was doing but not from experience, only from reading about large format photography on my own and ruminating on the principles. This image wasn’t even the product of an assignment. The moment I was granted lab privileges, I marched my little ass into that studio and made this image.

I still love this picture so much. I didn’t consider myself an animist at the time, that word hadn’t even entered my purview. But I was an animist. I still am. Seeing light. Working with darkness. Photographing Spirit. I didn’t know it in 1994 but this image would become my own personal emblem for my worldview.

Sunday Still Life - shot with a ‘51 Graflex Speed Graphic (swing modified), using a Graflex/Wollensak 135mm f4.7 Optar lens, on Ilford HP5+ 4X5 sheet film - utilizing a continuous roll of black paper. Lighting consisted of two continuous 500 watt sources, one bounced off the ceiling overhead and the other in a large silver umbrella camera right slightly above the subject material.

NOTE to self - next time use a window shaped soft box with tape to simulate window grilles/panes of glass.