Photography books

Finally got around to visiting the bookshop and choosing some books.

Magnum Magnum is an awesome amount of quality content from the famous agency. Quite modern with a twist that the photos are chosen by the photographers' peers and not an editor. 

Paris, Autumn 1963 by André Kertész is simply a beautiful book. All about space and people, I just love every page. It is definitely Paris but reminds me much of the spaces in London and has an otherworldly quality at times. Very inspirational.  

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Leica iii f

Finally got the new camera back from it's service and ran a roll of film through it. 

I picked up this Leica iii f in Japan but it needed a service and new light curtains so here it is at last. Until now, Minolta cameras have always been familiar to me but when I held the Leica it felt close to perfect. The size is quite small but it has a reassuring weight that really helps to keep it steady when shooting. Being made in 1952 this camera is totally manual, but after being tricked so many times by my Minolta light meter I am happy to take control of metering. 

First roll looks good so far... can't wait to scan some pictures.  

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Coffee and Seagull

Saturday morning is the time for coffee, magazines and testing some new film. 

I found this new Seagull black and white film in Japan. Ironically made in the UK but only sold in Japan.

Feels like spring today, at last. Perhaps I will develop that last film from Japan today and think about developing my first black and white film.  

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Minolta Hi-Matic 9

Technically a great camera, fast Rokkor F1.7 lens, bright rangefinder and full manual override.

When i bought this from eBay it had wires hanging out and the lens in pieces (I like fixing things) but otherwise in great condition. After some minor surgery, soldering and cleaning, everything was working properly again.

OK, sounds like a great success story so far... but here's the stuff I can't get on with:

Lens is incredibly fiddly to adjust with a silly lock button to stop you taking it of automatic. This is a real shame because the main point of this camera was an advanced amateur mode that gave you fast auto mode and full control when you need it.

Light meter is the least sensitive / accurate / reliable thing I have ever used. Easily fooled by backlight and useless in darker conditions.

It seems that the Himatic-9 has aged badly. The shutter mechanism is very complex and doesn't seem to work as it should any more with the self timer being erratic.

I am a big fan of the Minolta SLR range and the Himatic-E has exactly the same lens but is utterly different and likeable. 

This Minolta changed the way I think about cameras. I saw so many people comparing specification, lens sharpness, F stop and I got caught up in the numbers game. Usability is the most important feature available to any photographer. 

So in conclusion, I'm going to test out a Leica. I'll let you know how it goes.

 

 

Kyoto

Travel and pictures are somehow inseparable.

What makes the eye of the visitor so different to the familiarity of the local? The ability to see something fresh without judging eyes. The fleeting precious moment of passing through.

Kyoto is a beautiful city. Step away from the noise of the shops or Gion and the world of the local is easy to find. Small temples, gentle crafts and real life is one street away from every main road.

Process

I've been working on process for a year now and just realised I have reached my first destination.

When you feel like you suddenly know nothing then you have really learned everything you need right now. In the last year I have repaired and reconditioned film cameras, learnt how to process film and refined the process, mastered the scanning process and got decent printed results. 

The event that brought me to this milestone was creating a photo book. The sense of closure is overwhelming when you see your own project come to finalisation. Without the creation of something physical there is no end to the project. Of course, I'm not happy with the result. The temptation to go back and tweak, retouch, reorder, reshoot, retitle and generally change the product is immense, but closing the project is more important than achieving perfection. In fact for me perfection is not desirable, I want the result to feel a little raw and still open.

So, I'm ready for the next project. I will share some of the useful techniques that I have learned along the way to make others' learning process a little shorter than mine. 

Tim.