Seven Thoughts on Seven Images – Part Two

New techniques, new film, and new locations can help you find new pathways to creative images. Most of my images feature people against cityscape backgrounds. This image was taken back in July 2007 – I was still a relatively young buck still!

I had been shooting for some time with digital whilst still in the USA – mainly a Nikon D80, and wanted to explore more broadly different paths in photography. After doing some reading and investigation, I decided to dip into the toy camera area. The Holga was a 100% plastic marvel, manufactured to “exacting” standards in China somewhere are shipped to your door for $30! The cost of film and processing for 3 or 4 rolls of medium format film was more than the cost of the camera…

You can read more about Holga Cameras here.

The Holga was quite liberating – the lens is just plastic and creates beautiful vignetting and other effects naturally. Many of the very early filter apps were based on toy camera effects. Meh, another something the kids just don’t realise!

After returning to Australia, the Holga deserved some additional exploration. Normally, I don’t do a lot of landscapes in the city. I decided to take some shots of purely architectural / cityscapes. To add a bit of interest, I combined it with infrared film. Holga cameras are perfect for infrared film – just screw the infrared filter onto the lens and away you go. As it has an external viewfinder that does not view through the lens like an SLR, you can still easily compose your shot. An infrared filter (which is necessary to achieve the IR effect on film) is impossible to see through. So, you can only easily use IR film with a rangefinder or other camera that does not “look” through the lens when composing.

“Damn them all to hell!”

The infrared effect in this image is striking – it works perfectly with the solid tones of the buildings, and brings out strong contrast in the various lettering visible. The slight vignetting in the corners of the image give a dreamy, almost post apocalyptic effect, when combined with the foreground featuring the “artifact” sculpture breaking through the pavement. It has a real “Planet of the Apes” (Original Version!!!) feel about it.

I find the image incredibly rewarding, as it is something outside my normal preferences and repertoire. Stretching past my habits delivered a great outcome.

I entered a pretty “landscape aware” zone that day. After exhausting my stocks of infrared film, it still felt like there was another image around the state library. I switched to colour and took one of my all time favourite images, here below. It turned out surprisingly sharp in the vertical lines, and nicely blurred and vignetted in the corners…

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