July 30, 2010

This enlarger may one day turn into an instant film camera

This is the deconstructed enlarger which I hope to convert into a 4x5 camera.

I used this "camera" to make www.flickr.com/photos/everybodyinnewwestminster/4845308712/


E4x5, originally uploaded by *jj*.

This is my whacky film experiment of the day. I recently bought a Vivitar 6x6 Enlarger to convert it to a 4x5 camera. I know it's a bit odd.

Any how, I also had acquired a PA-45 instant film holder with film in it. I had been dying to use it.

Solution. My son and I crawled into the bedroom closet with a Metz flash, the film holder and the bellows, rack and pinion and lens from the enlarger, and guess what it worked.

Who says you need a shutter to take a picture? I simply opened the dark slide (in the dark) put it to the enlarger bellows. I set the aperture at f16 and my son set off the Metz.


Clever programmer creates light meter for iPhone

Will the wonders never cease?

I might not like digital cameras all that much but it doesn't mean I hate technology.

I have only love for the ingenuity of Vladislav Vyshemirsky. He created an iPhone app that is a centre-weighted light meter.

There are some kinks being worked out. It measures light fine, apparently, but there are complaints of ads partially blocking view of the readouts. A fix is apparently being review now. Until then, Pocket Light Meter 1.0 is usable.

July 29, 2010

Chinon 35F-MA Infrafocus

Of course writing about a camera at length often become a precursor to buying one.

This is what I think of as the Andy Warhol camera as it is featured in Chris Makos book on Warhol's trip to China.

This is a great little camera. It has a battery check on the on/off dial. The autofocus as a scale focus display in the viewfinder which lets you know if the infrared system has locked on properly (much like the Nikon L35AF and unlike the early Canon Sure Shots). It also has a minimum focus of 2.9 feet which is excellent for an early compact auto focus camera.

I found the camera in Sechelt, BC. It came with two aux. lenses (wide and tele). My test roll film was Kodak BW400CN set at 160ASA and I was very pleased with the results.


July 13, 2010

Andy Warhol's cameras

My interest in zone/scale focus compacts and auto focus point and shoot cameras originates from Andy Warhol's casual use of the early auto cameras in the 1970s and 1980s.

A number of misconceptions have arisen over the years regarding this particular part of Warhol's photography.

One prevailingone is the art historical overemphasis of his use of the Polaroid Big Shot and Minox camera. In fact, while the Big Shot was a very important camera in his oeuvre, he also made use of a wide range of early point and shoots from Canon, Chinon, Olympus and many more.

Regarding the often-cited Minox, Glenn O'Brien in his introduction to the photobook, Warhol's World, writes the artist found the camera too complicated to use. When autofocus cameras became available, he abandoned the Minox in favour of AF point and shoots.

Another Warhol essays, reports the artist received a Minox as a gift: "In 1976 Warhol was given a small Minox SLR (single lens reflex) 35mm camera by Thomas Ammann."

Minox never made an SLR.

Another art historian once wrote Warhol used throughout his career an autofocus Minolta SLR. Minolta did not release an AF SLR until 1985. Warhol would have used such a camera in only the last two years in his life (he died in February 1987). And indeed, we see him holding such a camera in his hands two months before his death. But it would have only covered a small period of his image production.

In short, there is a lot of misinformation about Warhol's camera use.

What follows is a small survey of photo-documentation of Warhol using a camera. I also have identified the exact models he holds.

Note, none of these images definitively prove he used the camera in his own work. They do, nevertheless, suggest a far wider range of cameras were available to the artist.

The image above shows Warhol using an early Olympus "weather-proof" compact autofocus. The Olympus AF-1 aka Infinity laid the groundwork for Olympus's classic Infinity Stylus and Infinity Stylus Epic which all featured the ground-breaking clamshell design. The camera was available from 1986 and, like the Minolta, would have been a camera used in his later career.

On his death, I believe it was Evelyn Hofer who was invited to photo-document his home. In the dining room, as shown in the book Obsession Possession, were several blue and white Olympus boxes (I believe they hold Olympus AFLs).

(For an interesting academic work on Warhol's camera use, visit William Ganis's paper on the topic.)

One of the most recent popular images of Warhol with a camera has to be cover image of Ron Galella's book, Warhol by Galella: That's Great (top photo). In the photograph, Warhol is attending the 1985 Annual Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards Dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The camera is an Olympus AFL or Picasso.

Olympus AFL

The above camera is a Chinon 35F-MA compact with infrared focusing. It appears repeatedly in Chris Makos photobook, Andy Warhol: China 1982: The Photographs of Christopher Makos.

Warhol, in interview, talks about using Konica cameras. Konica was the first company to introduce an onboard flash in the form of the Konica C35 EF or the Pikkari. Below is Warhol holding a Konica C35EF (left) and a Polaroid SX-70 (right, yawn). Also my own C35 below.

Konica C35 EF aka C35 New EF aka Pikkari

This camera can be seen in his hands while standing next to Bianca Jagger in 1978 photo taken by Ron Galella. Warhol said, "I love the new, small, automatic-focus 35mm cameras like Minox and Konica."

Of course, neither of these cameras were autofocus. They were auto-exposure. Konica autofocus camera, the Konica C35 AF, does appear in his hands in later photographs but the AF does not sport the distinct orange "C35" of the 1978 image.


Untitled, originally uploaded by *jj*.

Another shot with the Yashica J with Kodak Ektar 100 ASA.

July 9, 2010

From the past: Control booth, CBC, Vancouver

Control booth, originally uploaded by *jj*.
Taken May 2008.

I used to work for a network radio show. This was the last episode with a host who represented a long chain of iconic Canadian broadcasters.

I photo-documented that morning. It was the end of an era.

The person in the photography was the engineer/producer. A very talented and beautiful woman. Funny too.

Technical note, I shot with three cameras that day: Mamiyaflex C2, a Canon GL-19 III and a Yashica J rangefinder (not SLR).

The requirement was no mirror slap, no flashes.

I shot at a variety of high ASA (it was super dark - what do you expect, the show starts at 6AM and we're in the sub, sub basement!) including: 12 800 ASA.

This I believe this is with the Yashica (45mm, f2.8). I do like Yashinon lenses.