Category Archives: Lessons Learned

Photography Book: Andre Kertesz Paris Autumn 1963

I have began my collection of photography books and thought it would be nice to write about the things which I have observed and learned.

I will start with Andre Kertesz, Paris 1963.  I purchased the book after a recommendation from Bristreet to have a look at for Kertesz high POV and superb shadow work.

The book gives a bio on his journey as a photographer. He was born in Hungary, but moved to Paris to pursue his dream as a photographer and became quite successful. A move to New York would prove a challenge as he did not like the constraints of commission work thus quitting after sometime.

When he finally returned to Paris in October of 1963, he went photo crazy. In 2.5 months he shot 1500 negatives and about 300 colour slides!! That is like digital gunfire albeit expensive.

I can understand his eagerness, imagine how liberated he would have been, like a bird free of his cage, able to finally produce things he wanted.

The photographs are a selection of his black and white work taken during the 2.5 months. I immediately notice his keen eye on geometry and lines. Interestingly we get to see his process as a photographer. The images presented have a thread as we get to see his journey, finding different angles, subjects and pov to shoot whilst on the same place. Landmarks repeat which indicates his exploration of the area he is photographing in. He particularly uses trees as a foreground element to frame his subjects as can be seen on the front cover of the book.

I find life can be felt in his images. Those everyday moments but crafted with his curious eye. Something we all do as photographers, it is almost reassuring. I find them quite nostalgic and have very much enjoyed the book.  I think I might devote an entire roll of film with the aim of trying to shoot in the manner of Kertesz. If anyone is interested you are more than welcome to join me 🙂

 

 

 

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Curiosity

I got into film photography out of curiosity. To see the grain, its limits, and to slow down the pace of my digital machine gun fire.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

I regret not doing photography as a subject in high school as it taught the basics of film as well as developing. But I probably wouldn’t have learn much as it may not have been in my interest. I drew alot, did art in high school and afterwards chose architecture as a profession under the guidance of my art teacher. Intuitively I put the two things together, I liked to draw, architecture is about drawings and making so it must be a perfect fit. Fast forward to where I am now, and it could not be further from the truth. The creation is there, but the creativity not so much unless you work for a “starchitect”.

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In essence it is an office job.  Dress shirts, pants and shoes minus the suit jacket. One stares at a computer screen for 8 hours drawing lines, emailing and so forth. Sometimes there are site visits and check ups but not often.

Thankfully I found photography as a form of creative release. Jumped into analog after 1 year of digital and have a love hate relationship with it.

I had to relearn patience. I dislike the cost aspect of it but why save money on things I do not want to do. I am frustrated on the average quality of the images when compared to the masters but that only keeps me going.

For the craft and understanding that we must put in time, as did the pioneers of the medium.

 

Lucky Super 200 Roll Surprise Find: Philippines Trip

While trying to find my last roll of Agfa Vista 400 to load into my canonet I discovered a roll of Lucky Super 200 I shot from the Philippines. Delighted I got it processed and scanned earlier this week. I know I have said this before but there is something about film that captures reality. The colours, the grain, the imperfections, I believe reflect the world that we reside in.

 

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Digital has become so perfect and shiny that to me they are unreal after seeing analog photos. Interestingly I remember the first time I saw my analog scan I did not like the grain at all. I got so used to looking at digital images I was not accustomed to it. Now It doesn’t seem like I can turn back.

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Saturated

I now have a number of rolls that have been developed and not seeing them for such a long time makes it easier to be objective about the image. The result is that I like very little of them from the roll.

I have been thinking for awhile about culling the amount of photos I have shared on the web, and perhaps posting one or two in a month from then on. Image sharing feels like a race for me these days.  Shooting something, then posting. The value of the image lost in a sea of photographs. Bombarded by so much quantity, quality gets affected.

Printing is something I have also been thinking about doing lately. Selecting a few images that I consider to be acceptable and physically interacting with it. A way to slow down the pace. Halting it together. Time use to stop when I shot. Now it races.  I have lost control and need to regain sanity and start enjoying photography once again. To start shooting for me, to say something from the inside rather than from those I idolize or creating an image for others. I would like to thank my dear friend Vasillis for the clarity and dialogue on these issues.

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G.A.S, red dot and Murphy’s law

The excitement of landing my current job and not feeling like a bum after graduation had worn off. The job became just that, a job. How to deal with a sentence of slavery in society.  At times I sit at my desk wondering what the hell am I doing.  Sadly I think consumerism is given as a faux antidote to keep the wheel spinning. A fleeting moment, until the next product or model is released, planned obsolence. A mere cycle, work, buy, work, buy. Photography became reserved for weekends only and that is if  I was lucky. I wanted to shoot during my lunchtimes but lugging a big dslr  wasn’t really something I wanted to do. Before I knew it I had come down with a syndrome….. the Gear Acquisition kind, a type of consumerist disease which photography enthusiasts and professionals are easily susceptible to. First I began thinking how a x100s would be great. It’s small, compact an would be perfect for those lunchtime walkabouts plus they fixed the slow autofocus problem of its predecessor. Or maybe even the OMD, its weatherproof plus its cheaper now since the newer EM10 is out. I came across OMD E-M10 posters around the bus stops near work and they state  “Olympus cares about your health and happiness”.oly caresOh what about the new sony A7rs. Full freaking frame! :O Most free days became spent just researching rather than shooting. Going in an endless loop of this camera vs that camera vs that camera. But in the end it became all about that red dot. That damn red dot. Couldn’t get away from it.  A camera that “should” last me a life time. Why get something in the meantime when I really wanted that other something and could get if I only waited. I calculated that it will take me around 1.5 years before its acquisition along with a second hand 35mm Cron. A long wait, but I see it as practicing a form of delayed gratification albeit expensive. In the very long mean time why not start shooting film again to pass the wait. And so 6 weeks ago I sent over my first B&W film to get developed and scanned interstate as it was cheaper than my local lab. A way to make the wait for the red dot bearable.  Something to look forward at the end working week. Christmas on the mail 😀 Enter Murphy’s Law. Sending film over by mail is pretty scary. If it get’s lost that’s it. Gone forever. It had already been two weeks since my film had been sent over and I started to get worried. I called the lab to check if they sent it already but by some funny happening, my film arrived in the lab’s mail as I spoke to one of the workers. He informs me the easter long weekend must have delayed all the mails. He guaranteed he would start the machine and process it as soon as soon as possible. What a relief it was. As long as they had my roll and they had not sent it back getting lost on the way. I expected it to come the following week but it did not. Decided to call the lab again to inquire and was told they had given it to their dispatch department a week ago. I was told they would ring me back to give me the tracking number for my package. Three days have gone by and still no phone call. I rang again to inquire, and was told once again I would get a call back. But nothing. The following week I ring again but this time I was given the tracking number. I go online and there was no data available for the package. At this point I realised they had just sent my package on that day. Three days later it came. I had been tracking it from work and could not wait to get home and finally see my images. I also get an email from Amazon saying I will be receiving Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb on Street Photography and the Poetic Image book in three weeks time. I thought yes things are finally looking up. I get home and BAM I also get Alex Webb’s Suffering of light. What a book! Insanely good photographs. Light, Shadow, colours, complex layers simply brilliant. I couldn’t believe my luck. The book was suppose to come in July. It finally came down to the film I had been waiting for. I check the film and could see the images came out fine. This roll was actually before my Philippines trip. Shots I took around Sydney Central Station. I should really label the rolls so I know what they are. Now it was time to check the scans on the CD. I inserted it into the Imac and Murphy’s law would once again hold true. It was BLANK! I got a blank cd. Waited more than a month, for a blank CD. No jpgs, no photos, just nothing. Luckily they agreed for a full reimbursement. They asked if I wanted to send it back so that they could scan it for me, to which I said No Thank you. I ended up resorting to DIY low tech scanning of my negatives using an Ipad and a flat bed scanner.  You just need to invert the scanned jpg in photoshop. The results are pretty bad as there are lines visible from the ipad screen. Not sure how to get rid of them but it will do for now as I will be getting a Plustek OpticFilm scanner next month. Without further ado here are some of the scanned images.TeddyI dont really get why truckies do this. I first encountered it in Toy Story 3.Central StairsCentral SkylightSkylight at Central Station in SydneyScan1Scan2

Roll 10: Kodak Tri-X 400 Light Leakage!!

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Roll 10: Kodak Tri-X 400

Flying off tomorrow morning. Thought I’d fit in my last roll before I went. This tri-x roll was my first mishap with film. I rewinded up the roll but it did not fully go through 😦 As a result i got some light leaks and lost 7 exposures. I decided to get it developed first then scan what was recoverable thinking I would save some $$. The developing cost $11.95 from Fotoriesel in Sydney and $16.95 for develop and scan. Once I got the rolls back, I scanned the exposures using Camerahouse at my local suburb. It ended up costing $15.00!!! Almost the price of another roll scanned and developed 😦 I should really just start saving up for some chemicals to develop myself.

 

Anyways sorry about the rant. Here’s some of the exposures 🙂

Image 1 (Above):

A pressing issue in Australian politics. Boat people (asylum seekers) and how to handle them. Christianity’s view on the matter not reflected by the two major political parties PM candidates. Interestingly enough they are both Christian.

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Image 2:

Dog waiting for owner.

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Image 3:

Mobile Friends. I often wonder how the future will see us today just staring at our phones. The photographs of the other decades seems so much more connected.

Station (1 of 1)

Image 4:

Boy waiting at train station

Rest (1 of 1)

Image 5:

Fitting in a quick nap by some tourist at Circular Quay, Sydney.
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Image 6:

Duck for dinner

Circular Quay (1 of 1)

Image 7:

Circular Quay Station with the harbour bridge View.

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Image 8:

An empty eatery. This would have been better in colour.

 

 

Roll 5: Fujifilm Superia 400

Roll 5: Fujifilm Superia 400

Apologies for disappearing. Had some commitments and university things to deal with. Starting to get a backlog of films to be developed lol. Anyways here are some of my selections shooting with this film. Wasn’t overtly happy with what I got. Rushed it too much and had a very amateur/stupid assumption that I bought 36exp when it was infact 24 😦 Missed alot of shots but hey thats how you learn!

Amongst the birds
Amongst seagulls
Lonesome
Lonesome
Left Out
Left Out