As soon as my mastering of the operation of the 1958 TLR was confirmed with a roll of 35mm colour kodak (see Roll #1), I scrambled to do what this camera was designed to do and the reason I got it: medium format.
I am not sure how I ended up getting interested in 6x6 and medium format in general. I think it started on Tumblr. One of the blogger I followed back then had a “ask me anything” session. And someone asked what camera gear he used. The response included several classics (Nikons and Canons) as well as something more obscure to me. I think it was a Yashica Mat. I googled it and discovered an entire world of fanatics, dedicated to medium (and large - but let’s not go there yet) format. I was hooked instantly. Why Instagram when you can get the real deal?
Fast forward to August 2012. The excitement was high. My first roll of 120. Six months of ceiling high expectations. This roll will be black and white. This roll will feature my new born second child. It will be awesome. Well, maybe...
I have to say this is the first film picture I took that got me think that candid portraiture was indeed my favourite part of the photography spectrum. It also confirmed the Yashica was one of the tools I should be using to pursue this type of photography. These two fine folks are Stefan and Alex, friends from a previous professional life. It was Stefan’s last day at work and I wanted to capture one of the cigarette & coffee breaks we shared down our Melbourne office in the city. I do regret Stefan is not the one in focus, as he was the main subject, but his blurriness plays along with the theme of his departure.
Fitzroy, lunch time. Friday burger with friends from work. Still learning the trade of using the old Yashica, shooting with subjects means shooting with an audience. And all of a sudden, the pace I got used to when shooting the twin lenses reflex is not fast enough for those who pose. I had to practise much more to be able to capture candid moments. I use to regret the white van in the background but I think it actually helped getting the subjects to "pop".
Old cameras often have separated operations for their film advance and shutter cocking mechanism, therefore allowing double (or more) exposure of a single frame. When done properly and on purpose, it can be beautiful. Otherwise, you get the picture above. Not really what I was going for for any of these two pictures. This being said, one could say it illustrate the conflict between my time at work with the mates and my time at home with the new born.
I'm not the first dad bringing a camera to the maternity ward, I guess. This is Max. One or two days old. My subject and muse for the next few years (in competition with his big sister of course). I was still discovering the operation of the camera and I had to crop out of the picture the blurry shadow of its leather case because it got in the frame of the lens that actually takes the picture. The lack of colours, his clothes and the background keep this picture out of time.
Leaving by the sea has its advantages. The short walk by the shore to get a bit of fresh air is one of them. The ever changing sea and sky is a permanent temptation to shoot. Shooting from St Kilda pier, this time, I tried to capture the sun casting its rays over Port Melbourne. It never looks as good as the real thing but I did like this capture. Contrast was pumped to 11 to get the most texture out of the clouds. I'm still tempted to capture landscapes with this camera, notably because the experience of shooting on a waist level viewfinder, a tripod and a shutter cable is so great, but as you will see in the next posts, this camera really shines for portraiture.
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