Archive for the ‘bronica’ Category

The photos we create today are the nostalgia of the future. So take some good ones! (And print them so they will last). We will need to easily find them in 2065 to look back on today. Here’s to a great, photographic, 2015. Happy New Year!  Here are some more looks back in time: http://imgur.com/r/TheWayWeWere

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I keep running into people who see my old Leica IIIf over my shoulder and marvel that they still make film.  And that it is readily available.  I assure them it is.

I have a standard response to their “I have a great old camera that I never use.”  I tell them to just put one roll of Tri-x in it, shoot a frame once a week or so.  And that after several months, the roll will be done and there will be 36 memories to relive captured on film.

You will have forgotten what you shot.  You will know there’s something good waiting for you after the roll’s developed, and the camera will not be wasting away.  You can always shoot more, but certainly, shooting just one roll a year is still a treat.

You’ll probably need a new battery for the camera.  Many of those with electronic shutters won’t work without them.  Run out, get some new cells, power it up, and load the film.  It’ll all come back.  The feel of those old metal-bodied durable beasts will remind you why you loved them so much.  The heft in your hand will say quality, unlike what you see in many of today’s cameras.  The viewfinder will be big and bright.

It’s a treat.  And the folks I’ve mentioned it to say, “I think I’ll do that.”  I hope they do.  Bring some new life to those wonderful cameras of days of old, er, not that long ago.

How about you?  Have a sweet old camera that isn’t getting used?  How about getting it out and loading it up, just one roll of film.  You’ll be creating a time capsule.

lcpac1If you know you’re never going to shoot it again, donate the camera to a local photography school or art center.  I have one called the Lyons Photography Art Center in Colorado where you can send them.  Address is PO BOX 69, Lyons, CO 80540.  I use them to teach kids to shoot black and white film, to slow down and carefully compose images.  I give them the camera loaded and ready to shoot.  No excuses for lack of equipment.

If you do end up shooting some film, post the links here and let’s have a look!

michaelaDigital is nothing magical.  It’s perfectly good at recording, but the magic is gone compared to the days of film.

There’s something about the waiting that made film photography more special.  The time created anticipation which allowed us to forget the details of the moment, and relive it when we finally saw the film and prints.

I was just talking to someone recently about this, as I was carrying a Leica IIIf around my neck, that in the analog days, film was magical, the photographer the magician, and getting a photo meant hiring a photographer to make that image.

Untitled-26_1Nowadays, shoot it any way with any camera, even a phone, drop a few filters on the shot, and it’s good enough.  There is no magic.  The art director can fine tune the shot in camera and see the finished image before the photographer even leaves the shoot.

Even when I shoot digital, if I shoot your portrait, I will never show you the photo right there.  Because, it’s not about seeing it yet, but waiting until it’s finished.  And digital photographs need finishing.

Right now, there is film with latent images in my Leica that I don’t remember, and I will be transported back to where they were taken once the roll is finished and developed.  And I’ll have that experience all over again.

I love film for that reason.  It’s not spray and pray.  It’s not ones and zeroes buried on a card, a phone, a hard-drive.  It’s a photograph.  Time captured in silver.  Light burnt from that unique moment onto that actual piece of film.

You realize that film was present at the event.  That frame saw your Grandpa in that long-lost roll of film, with the latent image still intact, awaiting processing all these years.

The magic is gone with digital.  The photographers lost out.  And we all did when “good enough” with a few filters replaced the masterful technique of recording light.

When I need inspiration, I start my own photo project, which gives me focus for a duration of time. And photography is all about good focus.

So, I’ve started The Wise Photo Project, where I photograph wise older people with interesting faces in a magazine-style environmental portrait, and frame them large, like 16×20. It’s going to be a gallery show and a book of the same name.

Their faces tell so much about them. And the printing is important. I believe that a print is much more valuable than a file folder of images buried in a hard drive or phone.

You can see some of the photos here at The Wise Photo Project

What do you do for your inspiration? Do you have a photo project?

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couple1Carrying a Rolleiflex around, people come up to you to talk about it.  And you can approach people with the line, “Can I take your photo, I have this old camera I’m shooting,” which is the 100% complete truth, and people will let you.  It’s a great ice breaker.  That’s how the image at right was made.

I had just left a screening at the Boulder Theater of Finding Vivian Maier, a wonderful documentary of a woman/nanny/photographer who shot thousands of rolls of film, and whose work was only discovered after she had passed on.  Vivian shot with a Rolleiflex, so naturally, after the show, I brought out mine to show folks, and shot these two sitting on the Pearl Street Mall.

8-31-2014 12-52-17 PMI think because it’s a piece of art that you’re working with–the Rolleiflex is such a unique design, and a beautiful piece of gear–it draws attention.  And conversation.

It has another quality, it can make you business.  I shoot Senior Portraits in Colorado, and the woman I bought the camera from called me a year later and asked me to shoot her son’s senior portraits, including some with the Rolleiflex.  And we did just that.

This last photo was shot with the Rolleiflex just last week at the senior portrait shoot.  It’s a joy to be able to use these cameras both for personal and professional work.

Senior PortraitThere’s something about a square image that really works for me.  Maybe because it’s a little different than what most people are creating.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in the era of record covers.

In any case, the Rolleiflex, if you haven’t tried one, find one and give it a shoot.  You’ll find it’s very comfortable to work with, fits well in the hands and isn’t too heavy like many of the 6×6 SLRs, like Bronicas and RB67s are.

Yet it feels solid, like it’s quality engineering you’re shooting with.  Just like a Leica feels, if you’re familiar with them.

And one conversation leads to a portrait, and then another conversation, and another portrait, and on.

singerSo, while this blog is titled 6×6 Portraits, I have a variety of interests in different film formats, not just 6×6.  I have a love for Leica 35mm, too, and shoot regularly with an M3, M6 and IIIf.  The photo at left was the first shot made with my first Leica in 2010, an M6 with a 50mm f2 lens.

I think when you love film, you can’t not love many different formats.  Because they are all useful for different subjects.  I have a 4×5 Speed Graphic, and a 126 Kodak Instamatic 500 with a Schneider lens that I’ve loaded with 35mm to shoot sometime.

I started with film.  I was a staff photographer at a daily newspaper for 15 years starting in the late 80s.  Film is all I knew and it became very dependable.  People on assignment would ask, “Do you think they’ll turn out?”  And I’d say, “Yes, they always turn out.”  They better, it was my job to bring back a photograph for a story.  Failure was not an option.

Anyway, nowadays, I love my Rolleiflex.  I love the large negative.  I carry it everywhere I go, but I also carry 35mm cameras, so this blog will also feature photos shot 24mm x 36mm, despite being called 6×6 Portraits.  It will have a special emphasis on portraits on 6×6, but you never know when I’ll have a great 35mm or large format image I just have to share.

Thanks for following my blog, you film fans, all of you!  🙂

Untitled-4What is it about 6×6 film portraits that make me like them more than any other type of portrait?  I shoot with a Rolleiflex and a Bronica SQ-A and it’s pure joy to work with film and create legacy images.

My name is Kenneth Wajda, and I’m a professional photographer in Lyons, Colorado.  Been shooting for a living my whole life, and just turned 50 this year.  I was a news photojournalist at a New Jersey daily newspaper from 1987-2001.  Now I shoot portraiture in Colorado and wherever the work takes me.

I am going to use this blog to be the definitive dialogue on all things 6×6 film!  If you love your Hasselblad or your Yashica Mat or even a Holga, this is the blog that will speak to you.  Because we know the language here.  And it’s name is film!  Sized 6×6!

I’d love to get your input on what you’re shooting too.

I shoot a lot of street photography–I use digital too, for this–and some portraits on film in the street, too.  I’ll share them with you in posts to come.

Thanks for visiting and I hope if you like what you see, you’ll visit again.

Kenneth