Linds is one of my best friends and I love her look and her style, full of so many contrasts, so strikingly different. She is not comfortable in front of the camera but I still shot her whenever I could over the years. None of the photos captured what I wanted, none of them conveyed the emotion or mood I wanted. I shot candids of her when we were hanging out, driving, getting coffee, watching TV. I did more formal shoots with her, set the place, directed her. None of it was working.
I kept shooting. The proof sheets were accumulating and she was getting more and more used to me shooting but the shot that I desired, that I knew was possible was not appearing. There were images that were well composed, maybe cool looking, maybe capturing important moments in her life, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.
On one set shoot, I had her like in her tub in her apartment off of Pico Blvd. I shot her with a Leica M6 with Agfa APX and Fuji NPZ 800. I also shot her with a Holga and those two films. When I got the proof sheets back, I saw it, that little square on the contact, leaping out of me, a vignetted window into a moment of mood, a peek maybe even into someone’s soul. That was the shot. I had gotten it.
Five years. That is how long I shot Linds. It reminds me of the anecdote Diane Arbus tells of shooting Eddie Carmel, the subject of the photo “Jewish Giant at Home with His Parents in the Bronx, NY, 1970”. She had been photographing him for years, looking for that iconic image she knew she could create of him, when one night in the darkroom, she saw the image appear in the tray and knew it was it. She called her friend from the darkroom and told her that she finally had her image.
Nothing so dramatic or important for me, but I also had this moment and a sense of closure. I have only photographed Linds a few times in the years since.
Images from the first shoot I’ve had with a medium format camera in a few years with the beautiful Polina at my place. A couple of good ones and a joy again to work in this format. I also shot with the Leica MP and a Nikon F5. My comfort zone is definitely the 35mm rangefinder.
With a bigger, heavier camera, I am just slower and my choices are much different. Practice, practice, practice.
Will be posting more from the shoot soon.
Who are all these morons spending all this money on medium format gear in film’s waning days?
Oh wait, that would be me.
Just picked up a Hasselblad 500CM Chrome, 80mm C T* Planar lens, and 120mm CF T* Carl Zeiss Makro Planar lens, all in great clean shape. Will be posting photos taken with this set up soon.
It is so very nice to lick the adhesive flap and tighten it in the final wrap around an exposed roll of 120 film again.
I go to places that captivate and intrigue me. I am interested in what humans do. I seek to capture people, traditions, and locales that first and foremost are of personal interest. I immerse myself with information on the places prior to leaving, but I try to avoid firm, preconceived ideas. I strive for both calculation and discovery in my work, keeping my mind open for surprises. At times, I envision images I’d like to capture, but when I actually look through the viewfinder, my mind goes blank and I photograph whatever catches my eye. Photographs I return with are usually different from my original concepts. My photographs reflect both genuine interest in my subject as well as a respect for the element of serendipity, while other times I seek pure beauty. The pure enjoyment of this process drives and inspires me. I believe there’s a thread that connects all of my work — my personal vision of the world as a whole. I make every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around me, a world in flux that, at very least in my mind, deserves preservation.
Artist’s statement, Hiroshi Watanabe