Turning off image preview with the FujiFilm x100s

Just wanted to write a quick post about something new I’ve been doing with my x100s that has truly made shooting Street Photography a real pleasure.

 

Two of the biggest distractions for me while shooting digital photography have been (1) instant preview after a photo has been taken and (2) electronic viewfinders. I find that they both remove me from my surroundings; taking me out of the zone! To combat this, the x100s has two wonderful features that have made this easier for me.

 

1. I have turned off the image preview. Once a photo is taken, it is taken and I do not have that 1-2 seconds of the recently taken photo appearing in my view finder. Even more, I have been waiting at least 2 weeks before ever uploading these photos to my computer, or even previewing them. This has been a great way to stimulate shooting film – no preview and having to wait until sometime later to watch them come to life before me. I has made me a better photographer in that I spend more time thinking about my shot, more time thinking about my surroundings and less time worrying how the last picture didn’t come out right.

 

2. The second thing I have been doing is using the Optical View Finder (OVF). Again, less distractions, less lag. I tend to shoot manual focus with zone focusing, but for those who instead prefer auto focus, check out this awesome write up about how to read the auto focus boxes in the OVF.

Any other advice on this would be great! Hope it helps a few people.

Regal 50mm Candid Style Camera

What a treat this week’s camera was to research. Given to me by a friend of my Fiancé’s friend (Amy, her blog is here at The Little Bean Sprout). She had noticed the write ups I was doing on old cameras, and in conversation told me about a really small, vintage camera that she had found in her attic. I asked her if I could borrow it, take some photos and do a write up on the camera. She nicely agreed!

History of Galter Products Co.

I’ll be honest, it was pretty challenging to find information about this camera. Galter, the company that made the camera, was founded by a Chicago businessman named Jack Galter who started an electronic manufacturing company named Spartus in the 1930’s making mainly radios and razors (Chicago Tribune).

Jack later went on to produce small bakelite style cameras, and synchronized flash systems in collaboration and under the names of such companies as Monarck, Majestic, Utility Manufacturing Company of New York, Spartus, and his own brand name, Galter Products Co. – check out these awesome early patents, here and here.

Regal 50mm Candid Style Camera

Again, history for this camera was hard to find, but I did discover a lot of cool stuff!

In 1949, Wheaties Cereal had a contest in which for 55 cents, and a box top, one could send away for a Regal 50mm Candid Style Camera (for another 25 cents, you would be given a leather case with neck strap). The camera was geared toward children – measuring only 3″ long x 2″ tall x 1.5″ deep, equipped with a 50mm fixed lens, children would be able to take easy snapshots. The contest, as described in the advert I found here, on page 56, asked children to “Enter the photos taken with their ‘Regal’ Candid Style Camera” to win a trip to the 1949 World Series in New York city, with seats at both games. More, the winner, would be named the LOOK magazine Junior Photographer at the World Series, and be able to photograph the teams playing. HOW COOL IS THIS?! 

I did some research and discovered that the winner of this contest was a 7 year old boy from Chattanooga, TN named Jere Whaley (2neat.com). I was unable to find any pictures of him, but I know they were published in the the December 6, 1949 issue of LOOK MAGAZINE. According to Stanley Kubrick’s book on LOOK MAGAZINE, this issue “shows Jere enjoying a hot dog in the baseball stadium, but also taking pictures with the camera that won him the prize” (page 220, Stanley’s Book).

Here is the 1949 issue in which Jere is supposedly pictured in

What stands out with this camera

The camera takes what is referred to as “Vest Pocket Film”, a term I had never heard of. But I looked it up and discovered that this referred to 127 Film, a roll film introduce by Kodak in 1912 for their Vest Pocket Camera. 46mm wide, finding itself between standard 35mm and 120mm format film, a typical roll allowed 16 exposures (Camerapedia).

Another part of this camera that I can’t find any information about is that the placement of two holes on the backside, that were filled with green, filter type pieces of plastic (pictured below).

Picture of the hole openings on the backside of camera, including the green plastic filter pieces (one is missing)

I was unable to find any photos taken with this camera, and I discovered that Kodak stopped making 127 film in 1995. If anyone has any photos taken with camera, or photos of Jere, please share them!

Cartier Bresson & Robert Frank Exhibit.

Spent nearly 10 hours in New York yesterday with my new Ricoh GR, having an absolute blast and really starting to understand the power behind this little point and shoot. While I had been in Williamsburg the week prior, I decided to shoot Manhattan yesterday, making my way from Christopher Street to 34th street about 5 times, each time making figure 8’s through the grid.

While there, I had no real plans in mind besides just walking for hours on end, but there was one place in which I knew I had to check out on recommendation of Brent Eysler who suggested that I check out the Cartier Bresson & Robert Frank Showing at the Danziger Gallery on 23rd and 10th. After having seen a Robert Frank exhibit at the MET only a few years ago, I knew this would be right up my alley, and stopped by.

Bresson_Exhibit

The exhibit was mind-blowing to say the least. My day in the city didn’t start on the best note, I just couldn’t find inspiration, but after leaving the exhibit, I was overwhelmed with excitement and had one of my best days shooting.

In reflection of the show, I wrote the following in my journal:

“I find myself at the Cartier Bresson/Robert Frank showing at the Danziger Gallery. The photos are, in everyday just absolutely perfect. But besides that, they teach me more than I ever imagined they might.

The biggest of these lessons is the childhoodness of the children pictured. They were free spirits in these photos. They were actually children. Running, playing with friends. Bresson/Frank did not only capture a moment, but a period before a certain shift in childhood in society took place.

Another, being that the moment itself that was captured in these photos was not in perfect focus, lighting, or composition (well, composition perhaps), but what made these photos special was the moment itself. The moment that was captured.

Lastly, both Frank and Bresson used space perfectly. Not a single bit of extra space takes place within the crop, and not a single detail in the photo lacks meaning.”

Overall, a truly life changing experience.

Argus A Bakelite 35mm Anastigmat Camera

Today I am going to write about the oldest camera in my collection (at the moment), the Argus “A” Bakelite 35mm Anastigmat Camera.

History of Argus

Initially known as the International Radio Corporation until 1939, Argus Inc. was based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Although they originally began as a radio producing company, they soon became a prominent figure in the popularizing of 35mm cameras in America, starting with  the debut of the Argus A (Camerapedia). According to Old News, the camera was the result of a trip to Europe, when inventor Charles Verschoon hoped to produce a cheaper version of the Leica. There are some incredible news clippings from Ann Arbor talking about Argus’ impact on Old News.

Argus A

As noted above, the Argus “A” was the camera that started it all for Argus in the camera game.  According to Camerapedia, the Argus “A” was produced from 1936-1941, and sold for $12.50!! Equipped with a 50mm F4.5 lens (with available apertures of F4.5, 5.6, 8, and 11) and measuring 5″ wide, 3″ tall and 1.5″ wide, the camera was a decent size. With minimal research I discovered that the term “bakelite” refers to the material in which the camera was made of, a material popular in its time for cameras, radios, and other electronics (Camerapedia).

The camera was equipped with an  Ilex Precise Shutter, a four-speed lens with an awesome ability pancake into the body of the camera itself. Pheugo has an amazing collection of photos showing the taking apart of this lens, so be sure to check it out.

I also found a copy of the Camera’s manual here. Pretty amazing just reading some of the terminology.

One really funny thing from that manual is how the man is holding the camera (see picture below). I’m not sure if this was a joke, or really how the camera should be held.

What makes this camera special to me.

1. Pancake Lens

2. The camera’s sleek, all black look

3. Built in viewfinder

4. Pretty cool that when I searched my devices serial number, I discovered it was part of the original 50,000 in the first year of production — See here.

Images with the Argus “A”

My camera is, unfortunetely, not in working condition. But I have found some photos online that were taken with it.

Photo not taken by me, click photo to view original source.

Photo not taken by me, please click photo to see original source.

Photo not taken by me, click photo to see original source.

Interview with Irina Kuzmich

For those of you that don’t know, I manage an Art Wall at a Starbucks in North Jersey. Each month, I work with local artists to showcase their work in the cafe. Its something I always look forward to doing, because (a) I feel that art is something not appreciated enough these days, and the chance to put their work up and give them a month of spotlight is truly an honor and (b) its absolutely inspiring for me to meet all these artists.

This month’s artist is Irina Kuzmich of Bloomfield, NJ – a photographer whose work has been up for the month of February and will be up for another week or so in March. Earlier this week we conducted an online chat talking about her move from Russia to the US, her photography, and some of her thoughts on the work she has up this month.

Like what you’ve read? Go see her work at the Starbucks in Glen Ridge, NJ, and reshare this post!

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into photography?

I was born in Russia and have lived in New Jersey for the past 20 years. I left when I was 3 years old. I graduated college with a B.A. in Psychology, but have taken as many art and photography classes as I could. I remember enjoying taking photos since the age of five when I would go around with my little plastic camera and photographing everyone around me. I been passionate about photography since about 17. It kind of evolved out of my interest in art. When I got a camera for my 18th birthday, that was when I really wanted to begin learning as much as I could about photography.

Lets talk photography. What do you look for when taking a photo and what kind of camera do you shoot with?

Right now, I shoot with Nikon D5100. I really like street photography. I enjoy taking pictures of people, interacting with others and their environments. What inspires me to take a photograph is seeing human emotion. I think this intersects with my interest in psychology. I enjoy to take photos that show what people are thinking or feeling.

Do you feel that you’re departure from Russia had influenced your work at all?

I think it has. For one thing, I am immensely grateful to live in this country. I find myself very moved by symbols of American patriotism. I have actually unintentionally amassed a decent collection of photographs of American flags. There is something beautiful about the image. I have even been moved to tears when photographing war veterans. Also, knowing that I used to live in Russia motivates me to push the boundaries of my art. I am able to freely express myself, which would not have been possible had I still lived there.

That’s pretty remarkable. Tell me about a photo or two that you’ve taken which really meant a lot to you. What photo is it? Tell me about taking it?

One of the first photographs I ever took for artistic purposes was of the apartment my cousin and her husband lived right after they moved out. There was so much life in the apartment when they lived there and so many photographs were taken there during family parties. When I stood in it after the moving van pulled away, I felt there was something about the sadness of the scene that spoke about the components of a person’s life and the impact it has on others. It is difficult to explain, but I was inspired to capture a photograph of the empty living room and it has meant a lot to me personally. Another photograph that has meant a lot to me was of an elderly Civil War reenactor. Watching him, I could tell how passionate he was about what he did and how much he enjoyed it. It’s admirable when someone enjoys what they do that much so I wanted to take his picture. He also seemed flattered by the attention, which made me feel good. I am shy about asking people to take their photos and his response itself was like a reward for stepping out of my comfort zone.

Tell me about the current photos you have up this month.

They are a mixture of photographs that I have taken in the past 5 years. Except for the one using a long shutter speed to blur out the cars, all of them were unplanned photographs. I saw a scene that struck me for one reason or another ( either because of the color and shape like in the Glen Ridge train station photo or the loneliness of the empty parking lot) and I felt I had to photograph it.

 Anything else you want to share with people about yourself?

This was my first time having my photography displayed anywhere and I am grateful for the positive responses and support I have gotten! Thank you so much to you, Derek, for all of your help and for interviewing me!

Irina’s Flickr