Who Need’s A Grandee Camera?

Fuji STX - 28 and 50mm Fujinon Lens's
Fuji STX – 28 and 50mm Fujinon Lens’s

Who needs a Grandee camera?

Writing is all about Exposing Ones Thoughts.

See – Think – Reason – Note – Write – Explain – Write Again.

Never limit oneself because of false belief – The Superior Inferior – The critic.

Its a poor man who listens to the – KNOW All – Must have a Pelican Pen or Leica.  They say.. “I’ve got it you have not.  I’m superior by the evidence of my ability to acquire and possess”   Many know ‘em, watch ‘em and some will despise them. Do you read the superior reviews of the German product and think ‘I must have?  It will make my pictures’  Shame on you if you do. A camera never made a picture.  A pen never made a writer.

Those who are able to afford top glass are a minority – Those of who save, save, save, for top glass are to be admired for their endeavour and will the camera make the picture great?

Fujinon 50mm f1.6
Fujinon 50mm f1.6

The answer is – No.

Every picture in this blog was taken with a £10 second hand Lumix or the Fujica STX with Fujinar 28mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.6 lens’s.  I paid £125 for the camera and 2 lens’s – Some of you who like filmwork will say I over paid.  I’m sure did not, the camera and lens’s are as new and as you will soon discover,  the ability of the 35 year old camera system to capture a fantastic image is amazing.  You couldn’t buy a third of the cheapest Leica R series lens for the price of this trio.

Lets look at the hybrid darkroom –  Cost?  £15 for the tank and thermometer’s and the big expense a £180 Plustek scanner.  Even so. The total is still less than a Leica R 50mm lens.

Film Tank and Chemicals
Film Tank and Chemicals

I use Foma 100 film, £4 a roll and the chemistry works out at £1 per film developed.  I’ll not show you how as there’ many web sites demonstrating the process – For those who are interested I use ID11 developer –  stop bath and fixer are Ilford although I’ll be using Foma chemicals in the near future.

Fomapan 100
Fomapan 100

The Hybrid Darkroom is so simple, compact and can be used in day light!

Scanner? No! Digital Enlarger
Scanner? No! Digital Enlarger

A stolen washing bowl and pre mixed chemistry – (Tesco wash aid IS brilliant for the final wash)  2 old thermometers – I time the process with my iPhone – That’s all that’s needed.

Chemicals Being Tempered in the Water Bath
Chemicals Being Tempered in the Water Bath

A Pilot pen and a note book are the two basic tools which turn my thoughts into material readability.  The camera does something similar. It turns an/the image seen and conceived into visible reality. And I feel the more I keep to the original recording, the purer it is.  If there are flaws in the image I will leave them in.  Unlike the the first draft of a book which always needs work.  The image on the negative is made at the gentle press of the shutter.  The equipment used between the moment of exposure and the revealing of the final image is a mystery to master.  The use of film make the photographer a Magician in his laboratory, no longer does he need a darkroom, his changing bag and developing tank take care of the one problem. every thing else takes place in daylight.  The hybrid darkroom makes filmwork more accessible than it ever was.

Its not too difficult to do and this make it frustrating as you inevitably fail to make the impression you desire.  And because you attempt to discover what works, you look to the opinion of others! Resist this.  Create what is right for you.  Keep playing with words and images until you feel comfortable with your creation.

Analogue photography makes you THINK about how you are constructing the final image.  Filmwork and writing are perfect parallels – Its not to difficult to get the paragraphs – chapters – and final draft to flow. All you do is do it.

It's Easy to Keep Your Cool In The Hybrid Darkroom
It’s Easy to Keep Your Cool In The Hybrid Darkroom

Note books.  Word play.  Taking a chance with words and twisting the innuendo of the meaning is my favourite aspect of writing. Like the way a musician adapts the timbre of a musical score.  The writer and the photographer should be like a cheeky and mischievous child.  Let her drive the reader crazy and make the reader love the timbre of the writing like the parent loves the happy and excited child.  Make the pictures form words in the mind.

The 35mm camera and monochrome film take the process into the past, there is work involved.  The film camera is The Maginot Line it runs out of ammunition and is firmly rooted in the past designs.  No large company will take the process any further.  Thats the magic of it, the artists tool, the scythe which harvests the crop.

The digital adversary is a Panzer Division – Modern, powerful and relentless in its desire to WIN. A iPhone will produce a more efficient snap shot than any chemist shop processor ever could. A digital camera is like a Blitzkrieg it overwhelms and takes control. Your working with outmoded equipment when film is the drug.

Call Box 28mm Fujinon
Call Box 28mm Fujinon

The chemicals in hair dye are more complex than developer – stop bath and fixer!  Look at the pictures of the equipment used, nothing more complex than a developing tank which holds the film in the chemicals. And for all of this, it is the process which separated the artist/professional film photographer of the past from the snap shot guy who became disillusioned with the results.  Today you record the digital image and the result is excellent.  So the world takes pictures, records events and shares them.  This is no bad thing.  The evidence of videos and pictures and the ability to record the ‘moment’ with consummate ease.  Makes the deceivers life difficult.  Watch out politicians.

The snap shot taker records what everyone else see’s.  The artist see’s the detail and draws other people attention to it.  Digital camera – Phone camera – Images on the Internet – FaceBook Pictures – Pintrest – Flickr – Blog –  billions of images, words, ideas, creative excellence, mind numbing non-sense.  Why? What do we desire to share?  Why do we record – distort – create and then feel our work is not good enough!  The old grannies picture of her grand daughter is more beautiful and worth more to her than ANY Picasso.  The great image captives – hold memories – entices the imagination and can be of ANY subject.  Some will love it.  Many will not.

You don’t need a Grandee Camera – There is no need to worry about the tools.  Learn the process and make adjustments until you find what is YOUR right.  Whatever direction you take, love your work.  Its your reflection of your world.

Shoe Box 28mm Fujinon
Shoe Box 28mm Fujinon

It seems to me there is a fine line between excess and simplicity. As artists we learn about ourselves when we look at the chains of words or the different aspects of each picture, taken, drawn or painted.

So many wish to enforce rules which have no true guidance – And the sheep follow them – Should the picture be sharp?  The bokeh important?  The lens angle or choice right or wrong?  Not in my creations.  I produce what I like and spit in the eye of the critic or rule maker, I’m here the break the rules and if this means I lose a few followers on the way, I know I’m making progress.

The pictures taken with the Fujica are excellent when printed.  The pictures you see on this blog are sized for speed of download – Take my word for it the negatives when viewed through the loupe are as good as any I’ve ever looked at – The STX  – 28mm and 50mm lens’s are excellent.

Prints and Loupe
Prints and Loupe

This Blog is dedicated to my friend Julie Semper who’s life was tragically taken from her last week.



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