I find myself once again having to promise I will be better about posting here on the Artistic Balance Blog....
It has been a while. In my defense it took longer to recover from two detached retina surgeries than I thought I would. This current project came out of that recovery. As sort of a challenge to see if I could still use manual a focus camera. I chose my Pentax 6x7 and my Mamiya 6x4.5 cameras to see if I was up to the challenge. The detachment was not in my focusing eye, but still having one eye blurry all the time affects a lot of things. My depth perception is a good example of that. I was not the most graceful guy around before but nowadays I'm downright awkward...
Anyway back to my project. I decided I wanted to do women's portraits on film using only natural light. Along the way I remembered why I liked shooting big film cameras so much and have been missing something since switching to digital. The deliberate pace of film has made me a better photographer I think. I am much more careful with planning and am deliberated and almost economical in my shooting. Getting only 10 shots per roll on 6x7 and 15 shots per roll on 645 will do that to you. I have decided to continue shooting some of my portrait and street photography on film. It is a new reality waiting for film to be developed. It is about a week from when I shoot to when I get the email from the lab with the scans and the actual film a few days after that. Below are a few samples of some of the portrait work I am shooting on 120 film.
This is shot of Julie is from the first round of test shots I took. It took me a couple a tests to get used to the incredibly narrow depth of field on the medium format portrait lens. As long as the eyes are sharp the rest melting out of focus looks great.
This shot of Patty is from the same day I photographed Julie. I used the Pentax 6x7 camera with a 105mm f 2.4 lens for this image.
This image of Tracy was taken after I had a chance to review the first shoot. Again available light this time the main light was bounced in from camera right and bounced again off of a reflector on the left. The light is incredibly soft and pleasing,
At this point I started to gain confidence in my film shooting and made one last lens change to a 200mm f4 for my next shoot with Maris which I will share in the next post. After the initial panic of not seeing the photo in the back of the camera after each shot I started to engage the sitter more and making a real connection you can see in the photo. I also became more aware of posing and started to work on that. You start to think of these things when the cost of a r oll of film, developing and scanning gets close to $40. Suddenly you want to make each image count. It I think is making me a better photographer. I was becoming lazy taking hundreds of photos per session and thinking don't worry I'll fix it in editing. Not anymore. Get it right in camera. If you are up for a challenge give shooting a film camera again a try.