Gear Lust & Chasing the Look

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I’m often sucked into the vortex that is lusting after new gear. While there is something to be said for the improvements in technology i’m more often that not thinking about larger format cameras – Hasselblad 503C and the Linhof Techno. While thinking about these I entertain the notion of a digital back but in reality I’m thinking about what people have created with these and similar cameras using film.

It took a while but it finally dawned on me that what I’m hankering after is not necessarily the gear but the look that is created. The look of course is in part gear dependent since each of these cameras has a unique mechanism, good but different lenses, that I’m sure but can’t prove to you today that have a unique look to them, and then of course there’s the film that imparts a certain look too. Camera body, lens and film all give a distinctive look as do the choices made after capture, the choices made during development of chemistry and paper.

For a while most of the images that I shot with my iPhone were processed to give a ‘lomography look’ to them and I did entertain for a while getting a loom film camera but at the same time thought that I ought to be able to create that look digitally with the camera that I already have. More recently I’ve been taking gritty black and white images with my iPhone and again felt that I ought to be able to achieve a similar effect with the DSLR that I already have. The image above is a first attempt. I’d be interested in your thoughts. I’m chasing the look, just with the tools that I already have to hand.

Friday Inspiration: Joe Cornish

Joe Cornish is one of those photographers whose work I continue to return to. Much of what he does is shot in the part of England, Yorkshire, that I consider home and his ability to articulate what he’s thinking as he frames a particular shot is instructive. I’m also lusting after the Linhof Techno camera and the Phase One back but that’s a different topic entirely. Find out more about Joe Cornish here and enjoy the videos below.

Object of Obsession: Linhof Techno

Probably like most people I like things that are both functional and nice to look at.  Whether it’s my OXO travel mug, the custom made Timbuktu messenger bag that I have used for the last 5+ years or those things that are out of reach – Aston Martin cars, Morris 42 ocean going sailboat to name just a few things.

For me the Lindhof Techno falls into the group of things that are out of reach.  I’ve never shot film, never used a medium format camera and yet this camera appeals to me on all kinds if levels. It’s a digital based system using the medium format backs from companies like Hasselblad or Phase One. High resolution files and big prints! That it is a medium format system with bellows, means that you can get excellent front to back depth of field. Something that you would have to use either focus stacking or a tilt shift lens on a DSLR to get close to. It looks like it would be work to set up an use – this more deliberate style of photography is something that increasingly appeals to me rather than the run and gun approach that I all too often fall into with my DSLR.

I’d love to rent one of these systems for a couple of weeks to see how I’d get along with it – let me know if you know where I could rent one.  If you have experience with the Linhof Techno I’d be delighted to hear your experience with it.