From the pics it looks like people don't feel threatened by a TLR and open up.
Is it the shape of the camera? Is it because they don't think anything is pointed at them? Is it because photographer isn't hiding behind a camera? Does it seem like the photographer isn't around to capture a bit of their soul?
Or perhaps, it is the fact that the photographer is really good at engaging with his/her subject - such that the subject hardly notices the camera.
I'm guessing that that is the case here, and the results are great.
Or the cool looking camera becomes a prop for the engaging photographer. I do this on gigs, I'll bring along a funky looking camera or wacky lens. It relaxes the subjects.
People seem to relax more for exactly that reason when I'm breaking out the Mamiya C330. I'm sure the Rollei would have a similar effect, TLRs just scream old school.
I sometimes need help like that. I'm not always good with non-candid subjects and use every advantage I can get to make them relax.
Being an affable character is an excellent skill for a photographer doing work like this to have. Almost indispensable.
That goes without saying, especially in the context of these photographs.Or perhaps, it is the fact that the photographer is really good at engaging with his/her subject...
That goes without saying, especially in the context of these photographs.
But my feeling is that there is something threatening about an SLR that doesn't exist with a TLR. Maybe it is the act of holding something up to one's face that puts the subject off - not always, but often enough.
An old bit of advice was to take pictures without film until the subject was desensitized to the camera. I have long series of negatives of the subject reacting badly to the camera until they finally give up and relax and I get the shot, and this with a subject to whom I am intimately engaged.
A view camera in a casual setting just makes the subject giggle - or if it is a family member they sigh "Just get on with it, will you. How long do I have to stand here?"
Great project. Can you supply some technical details: ISO, developer, wet prints or negative scans?
Thanks, Pieter12 and everyone for the compliments on the photographs.
I went out to the lake all summer between Independence Day and Labor Day with the goal of shooting a roll of Ilford HP5 in a Rolleiflex 3.5F on every visit. The camera had 400-speed film but effectively was shot at 100. Here's how:
I never used a light meter. Most days were sunny. I set the camera, knowing sunny 16 would say in full sun 1/500 at f16. I set the Rolleiflex at 1/250 at f11 and went to work. I knew I was deliberately overexposing sunny parts but figured I'd have shadows too, and I wanted to expose for them. Highlights would fall where they may. They say Richard Avedon's 8x10 cowboy portraits are very dense--he liked overexposed negatives and so do I. The one thing I don't want is underexposed areas, lost details in shadows, especially faces.
If they were under a tree, I'd open up more, say to f8. If it was later in the day and I wasn't sure, I'd open up, sometimes all the way to f3.5. If I was shooting action, I'd go to 1/500 and open up a stop
The negatives were perfect, processed in 20 minutes in my kitchen sink as soon as I was finished. Developer was Kodak HC110 Dilution B for 5 minutes, water stop bath, Ilford RapidFix for 5 minutes, then hung to dry.
I had no problem with them. I scanned them once they were dry by photographing them with a full-frame Nikon DSLR with a 55mm Micro-Nikkor lens or a Kaiser copy stand/light table. Then I inverted them in Photoshop and tweaked them in Lightroom.
By photographing them, I was able to include the edge numbers and frame, which I like.
Going up to people was not difficult. I have a long history (30+ years) as a photojournalist. I would just go up and say, "Hey, you guys look like you're having fun," or "I like the way you are doing XYZ, can I make your photo?" And I'm holding the Rolleiflex which is helping me sell them on the idea, and I would explain, "I'm documenting life here at the lake. You can see the finished project at LongmontLakeProject.com (which I registered for $10 and set up a redirect to my web site page), and I'd hand them a card and say the gallery is under the Projects tab.
In that way, I was giving out cards, which was a way to connect with them and hopefully when they need a photographer, either for family or business use.
Very few people said no thanks. Maybe two or three.
I printed photos for people who asked for copies, at no cost, and delivered in small 5x5 frames I picked up at yard sales and thrift stores. I never give out photos unframed--they look unfinished.
It was a fun project, one I enjoyed going out to create, since the lake is only a couple of miles away, a five-minute drive. I plan to get into the Denver Month of Photography show next spring. (It happens every other year and I exhibited in a gallery in 2021).
Let me know if I answered all your questions. Glad to chat some more. Thanks for visiting my online gallery!
I did make a post about inspiration and overcoming resistance during the project you may enjoy (If you've not read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, I recommend it). https://6x6portraits.wordpress.com/2022/07/21/theres-nothing-out-here/
Here's to good light!
Kenneth, that just goes to show how powerful the Sunny 16 rule is to get good, consistent exposures. Great work.
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