Two and a quarter square.

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I have to confess; I came close to selling my Hasselblad last week. I got another batch of films back, and there were a lot of disappointingly mediocre shots, in my opinion. But then I looked again – I think to go from years of shooting in the rectangular ratio back to square has confused my compositional mind, and I’m just not used to seeing my images that way. So I’m going to persevere – I’ve set myself a challenge; I’m only going to use the Hasselblad, take nothing else out with me on shoots for the next couple of weeks and see how that pans out. So, to the French guy who contacted me and offered me probably more than he should have for the ‘blad – get back to me in a fortnight…

These images were all made using the probationary Hasselblad 501cm with 80mm T* CB lens. Film stock is Kodak Portra 400.

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18 comments

  1. I looked. The photographs are fine. The quality of the image is wonderful. Quit whining.

    I am a painter. Things never go as intended, paint having a mind of its own. That is the magic. Regarding your post, two shibboleths come to mind: “If you make a mistake, do it again. They’ll think you did it on purpose.” And “It is a poor worker who blames his tools.”

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  2. Mark Hillyer

    I think the problem with Hasselblads is that back in the day when everyone used film, they were so good that everyone used them because the quality was the best. Nowadays, when you want to get a specific “shot on film” look, they are almost too good. The images can sometimes look almost too sharp to be film and you lose a bit of that analogue feel to the final image. It takes time to get used to the aesthetic of ‘blads I think. Alternatively, I think you should just give it to Hannah.

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  3. All new things take practice, so I guess I’m saying don’t sell it, just use it more.
    Try some close-up portraits and see if that changes your mind.
    The colour and film might be giving you a completely different effect which you’re not used to. There’s definitely a different ‘atmosphere’ created by these images and although great images, I don’t think they have the rawness and intensity of your other portraits. Those twins make good subjects.

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  4. Back in those days, when we were using a Rolli or the Blad as a workhorse, most photographers were attracted to them because they were relatively easy to use, light to carry, and with interchangeable backs, you could move from one type of film to another without developing a film after only using it for two or three shots. The quality was almost as good as a large format camera. That was a big advantage too. They could be blown up quite big. The basic reason for the square format was because of the viewing screen. It started with the twin lens reflex, and was even better with the single lens. But those cameras were very awkward if you had rectangle and tried to take a shot holding it side ways. The viewing screen was wonderful and made focusing a lot easier, but there was only one position good for shooting. So these cameras were designed so you could take the shot square, and then crop it the way you liked it. Even after the crop, you had a lot more meat there than you did with a 35mm.
    I used to do all my own developing and printing, and so that became as much a part of taking the picture as pressing the shutter or choosing aperture or speed or the lens I put on the camera. For most photographers in those days, there was no special value incorporated in using all of the negative. I do enjoy most of your photography. these pictures here are fine. The top one is magnificent. If I had one like that on a film, I already felt good. My advice to you, is loosen up. Don’t feel bad about cropping. What matters is the final image.

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  5. Brian Fanning

    Reading the comments, I think people may be misunderstanding the meaning of this post – I feel that what is saying is that he has fewer images that he is willing to share, not that the images here are below his usual standard (because they obviously aren’t) The images here are superb, the top one is especially good.
    .
    Correct me if I’m wrong πŸ™‚
    .
    Brian

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