Archive for the ‘rolleiflex’ Category

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Ohmigod, is that a Saturn?  And look, remember when you had to pedal your bike!

The year is 2066.

We’re teleporting to different parts of the earth, holding meetings on virtual beaches while sitting at home, and having robots do all the chores.

And we’re using the latest camera technology, which means no camera at all–just look at something and it’s captured.

We’re lamenting not having any photos from the first quarter of the century, since we didn’t bother to print any of our pictures, and they all got lost in dead computers and outdated phones and hard drives that last booted up decades ago.  And some old program, Facehead, or something, that was supposed to save them all.  Yeah right!

Plus, we don’t have any computers that use USB anymore!   How ancient that technology!

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My Leica M2, still going strong in 2066.

As we sit looking out the window, our Leica M2s and M3s and Rolleiflexes still just as functional as they ever were, we load a roll of film and take a walk to go capture some street photos of the day.

The sky is full of PTDs–personal travel devices.  Everywhere, our brains connect with each other through telepathic waves.  Cars have long ago ceased to exist.

And we find ourselves thinking about the good old days.  Like 50 years ago, when things were simpler.  Sure there was that terrible fiasco with President Trump, but thankfully he was quickly arrested and tried for his crimes.  And then President Sanders’ brought all nations together.  War ended and America prospered, which is why we have such a great economy, plentiful jobs and USA-made robots and devices today.

But still, taking photos of present day just doesn’t seem as cool as the old days.  Back then, there were those cool Nissan Rogues, BMW sedans and those crazy Mini Coopers.  God, haven’t seen one of those in years!

What I wouldn’t do to be able to go back in time to 2016 and photograph them.  What a treat that would be.  But that’s crazy talk.

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Look at that old BMW, when they still had wheels!  And drivers!

That’s just what we did in 2016, fifty years ago, when we were enamored by photos of old cars from the 1960s and 1970s.  So busy looking at the old cars, we missed the shots of those cool 2016 cars then.

All I know is I’m glad my Leicas lasted.  And my Rolleiflex.  Because when film made its resurgence in 2022, we were the only ones who knew how to make real photographs.  The rest make memory records, but we make photographs.

Which is why we’re the wealthiest photographers because of our forethought.  Way to go!

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“Ah, look, the good old days.”  (Overheard circa 2016)

Time traveling.  That’s what people will be doing 50 years from today in 2116–looking back on life in 2066 (“Ah, the good old days,” they’ll say.).

That photo of the PTD fuel station that looks like nothing now, just a bunch of hovering vehicles powering up?  Add 50 years.  It needs time to become valuable.  Once time passes, familiar elements fade away.  Buildings change.  The cars, the shops, the cities.  Then the photos take on meaning.

I’m no math whiz, but here’s the equation: [P+T-GP!]   (Photograph + Time = Great Photograph!)  The photo needs to be good, too.  Let’s not forget that.

Ask Stephen Shore.  Or William Eggleston. They both knew the equation.

If I were back in 2016, I’d go out and shoot ordinary things, with an eye to the future.  Because maybe I’m not shooting them for me.  Maybe they’re historical photos for the Shorpy galleries of tomorrow.  (So glad that company is still going strong, with galleries around the world.)

But alas, I can’t time travel.  They say that technology will be ready in another twenty years but they’ve been saying that forever.

I better get shooting!

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I am a working commercial photographer, who shoots in both film and digital.  Often, digital is required because the client needs the images in a very short turnaround.  And they need a great quantity of images.  Digital is good for that.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that PROJECTS are not going to get you anywhere but closer to paying this month’s bills.  To make a name for yourself, to get successful, you need PRODUCT.

The difference, I see, is like this.  A book is a product.  It can sell for years to come.  A gallery show is a product–it’s an event featuring you and your work.  A film, a record, a book, a short story, these are all products, and you can create a career with them.

But photographing a freelance job that gets images for one purpose, even if you can shoot ten of them a week, is still a project.  The project ends, and there is no lasting value, except perhaps to photograph it another time.  Many clients in this business end up being one and outs.  Those shoots pay the bills, and that’s all they do.

Products aren’t about creating for someone else’s needs.  Products are the result of creating for your own needs.  Putting your name on the cover and calling it your love.  And risking they may not buy it, like it.  They may even call it worthless and ridicule you.  But if it’s your vision, that’s what is valuable.  Your willingness to say something.  That’s the basis of product.

So, my focus is on my products, not projects.  It’s how I can go farther in my career and create lasting value in my work.  It’s how I can create legacy–my products are all that will be remembered.  Names are forgotten.  People disappear.  But we know the work.

That work is the product.  And that is what we must work for.

I AM LYONS COLORADO is a book I published in 2013.  It’s a product.  It exists in people’s homes and in the local library.

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Made with a Rolleiflex T twin-lens reflex camera on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado, it’s a moment captured on film that has a feeling all its own.  And very few of the digital photos being taken today will last 50 years, like this will.  Because this negative is physical–I can hold it in my hand.

She was working across the outdoor mall at a store, and saw my Rolleiflex, and came over, explaining that she’s a Rolleiflex shooter as well.

I am a proponent of legacy portraits on film, and this right here, is why.  Printed in a real darkroom on photographic paper, 12×12 framed, this is a stunning portrait for any room of the house.

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I have a buying guide for Film SLRs (and TLRs and Point and Shoots, sometimes, too.)

Check it out if you’re looking for a good Film Camera!   Happy Shooting!

DancersI love the moment and the rich black and white tones.

Shot with a Rolleiflex 3.5F.  On Ilford HP5 film.

The joy of dancing with no inhibitions or limits!  If only we could embrace all of life with such carefree of an attitude, what could we accomplish!

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Me in 1988, working as a photojournalist for the Trenton Times, NJ.

I find that as more people abandon film, the more I love the fact that we have the tools to still use this amazing, great analog wonder.  And I feel like we are a lucky bunch who understand and embrace it.  Not to say there’s no appreciation for digital, because all my commercial work is shot digitally, but we get to play here still.  While the whole world has turned its back on film and dumped their cameras, we can pick them up, often for a song, and get to keep their tough metal gears moving forward.

I like that I am in the company of other film photographers, yourself included if you are one, too.  We have a magic box that many digital photographers have never even used.  Who have no idea how to use one.  And we get to still make magic.  A surge in demand for film has brought some back into production.

Keep on shooting.  2015 will bring a lot of photo opportunities to us. As long as we’re ready to go out and meet them.  I wish you a great photographic year.  And look forward to watching your blogs and seeing your work, too!