It’s always a treat to take out the Rolleiflex. You never know who’ll you’ll meet with it, and you always get to interact with people who are enamored by the camera and thus willing to pose for you.
I’d written in the past about how the camera you’re using will dictate the photos that you’ll make. It’s absolutely true. If I had kept this Rolleiflex out all day instead of switching to a Nikon DSLR with a 20mm for street photos, I would have a whole gallery of portraits.
As it is, I have a gallery of street photos and documentary pictures from this high-elevation mountain town, but it’s important to realize how much the camera plays into what we create.
I have always been on the lookout for a camera that I can shoot at the flick of the wrist, and as much as I try with a Leica M5 or a Nikon S4 rangefinder, I don’t feel quick. For speed, a Nikon F100 with a 24mm, 35mm or 50mm autofocus lens set to back-button focus is all I need. I can do anything with that, but it’s bigger. It’s bulkier.
I would prefer to be able to carry the smaller camera, but it comes, for me, at the expense of speed.
These were all made with the Nikon F100. I find I seek speed so that nobody is waiting for me, no one is taken out of the moment of what they’re doing, as I typically want them candid, not posing for me, unlike the Rolleiflex which is almost always used for posed portraits.
Those show my documentary, photojournalist side. Though nothing is set in stone–the last one is a portrait from the 35mm camera.
This was another one recently from the Rolleiflex, and again, a posed portrait. You’ll rarely see me photographing candid moments with the TLR. Same with 4×5 or 8×10 large format.
So, think about what you’re carrying, what camera you’re taking out. It’s the camera that does it–the camera makes the type of photograph. That’s important information to know.