What better way to start this journey, than with my inspiration and my first wobbly steps into this world. No, not my birth, but the birth of my love for analog photography. It all started after moving to the south of Germany for employment reasons. One fine day I sat in the temporary office space that was our new home and joked about doing large format photography (I was thinking about digital sensors the size of a sheet of A4 paper) to a colleague sitting across from my desk. That lead him to introduce me to the wonders of a Linhoff 4”x5” large format camera and the process of turning light into a negative through the liberal use of chemicals.
I was hooked.
Fast forward to my first steps: I borrowed my dad’s Mamiya RB67, ordered a couple rolls of 120 film and the necessary chemicals and basic equipment for film processing online, and off I went. Taking pictures with the RB67 is a joy (I love the harumph when pressing the shutter) that turns into a literal pain in the neck reasonably quick. That camera is anything but light, which is probably the reason why it earned its place in photo studios instead of on the side of, e.g. landscape or street photographers. My mental image of an RB67 for street photography is of a respectful distance of everyone around you while searching for the right frame, and people jumping for cover when you hit the shutter button.
Now taking pictures is a joy and a chore. What about the result? Well, as it turns out, and as expected, there is a lot of room for error. And I was about to start using it. The first rolls of film that went through my clumsy development attempts were showing promise. Given that I started with black and white, which sounds easy, I gained some confidence in my ability to get the results that one expects. It all seemed to be quite easy. The next rolls proved me wrong: Instead of decent, contrasty negatives (with a bit of dust), I got faded, blotchy, scratched crap (still with a bit of dust).
I loved it.
With analog photography, the process only starts with taking the picture. A lot of the fun there is in the making of the picture. It is a lot of effort and time, but with those downsides (that may be circumvented by having someone else do the processing work) comes a different way of appreciating photography. A way, that for me now got a new step: This presence in the World Wide Web.
I am a big fan of 35mmc.com and especially the “5 Frames With…” series. In this serial, photographers share their experiences with different cameras, film stock and other aspects of their hobby. And a set of 5 frames related to their post.
I considered for a long time if I should get a website. Previous attempts with blogs and such usually were doomed by my laziness and a subsequent loss of interest. So what is different this time? As mentioned above: This is a new step. If you look at my process of filling a couple rolls of film, developing, scanning and occasionally editing, “creating a blog post” does not seem to be much additional effort at all.
And with my interest in formats from 35mm over medium format up to large format, I think I will have a lot to talk about.
So without further ado: Welcome to “MK Analog”!