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Author Topic: LF how to get into it?  (Read 7976 times)
Fritzer
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2010, 08:53:43 AM »
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Fred, I agree with the suggestions to try a monorail LF camera, in particular Sinar - are you going to shoot digital with it ?

In that case, skip the F/F2 models, they are a bit too weak in the rear for sliding adapters.
I don't know your budget, but I got a couple of Sinar P2 a few years ago for under 1000 euros each, even cheaper now.

Monorails in general are great to get to down to the very basics of photographic technology, and using them is not hard at all.
Do a little reading on the movements and the rest is pretty self-explanatory with those things.

Rodenstock, Schneider and Nikon all make very good lenses; don't by too old (over 10yrs or so) or cheap, these might not work well or at all with digital backs .
And the resale value for decent LF lenses is amazingly good.

As you work as an assistant (?), try and find a nice still life photographer you can work with, and you'll learn the basics in no time.
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TMARK
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2010, 10:01:16 AM »
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Fred,

Assuming you want to shoot film, I'd go with a Sinar P.  Modular, cheap-ish, one of the best view cameras made.  Accessories are readily available.  I have a P that was my fathers.  I've been shooting it since 1990. I added bellows, wide angle bellows, extension rails, hoods, masks, binocular viewer, binocular reflex viewer, 8x10 format changing kit, etc etc.  For less than $2000 US you can have an amazing, versitile set up.  Or go even cheaper and get a Sinar F2, although they are flimsy feeling.

With my P I can shoot anything:  Macro, portraiture (which is what I mainly shoot), landscape, architecture, from 8x10 down to 6x6 if you get the proper back.

Lenses:  I like Rodenstock and the Caltar II-N branded Rodenstocks.  I have some Schneiders now, and the jury is still out on them.  For portraits in 4x5 I use anything from a 135 Symar-S, a 150 Caltar II-N, or a 210 super symar.  For 8x10 portraits I use a Geortz Dagor, which is like a 280mm. For architecture, strictly a hobby, I use a 115 6.8 Grandagon MC, a 90 F8 Super Angulon, and a 120 F8 Nikkor, which is one of the best lenses every made.

Shoot color and take it to a lab.  If you find you don't like large format, sell it for ewhat you paid for it.

I like to scan.  A V700 or V750 makes decent 11x14's from 4x5.  I use the Epson for proofs, really, or to provide a reference for pre-press. I, or a client, has drum scans made of final selects.

One thing:  Get a polaroid back.  Use it with the Fuji films, and learn that way.  Instant feedback.  Like digital but you have an artifact to keep in a shoebox for 20 years.

As an aside, I had a project to shoot architecture, commissioned by my father.  I bought an Arca Swiss F line and leather bag bellows.  Perfect kit.  The entire kit (lenses, dark cloth, camera, rail, film holders, meter, polaroud back, 6x9 back, fuji film, loupe etc fit in two Tenba Metro Pack shoulder bags.  Very managable for working from a car or a Rock 'n' Roller.  I didn't use the Sinar because it is too big and heavy for an extended project.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2010, 10:17:57 AM »
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Well, Fred... I know you like the climate in Spain, and you have a job there, but you could team-up with me, and assist me with/use P3/86H/Apo-Digitars & H4D-60, and have use of my comprehensive P2 system with lenses 47-900mm.

Might seem a good idea, but £1,000 for a P2 is the tip of the iceberg, and by the time you have the LC shutter, sliding back, P3 converter etc. it is £10,000, then it is another £20,000 for a top digiback, and £20,000 for a set of Apo-Digitars with eShutters.

... or you can accumulate (most of) this kit over several years from eBay, as I have done.

Just come back from a shooting day, it was cahotic but fun. 6 models at the same time. Then lunch with the brooker, stylist and his assistant, model and my boss. A nice day.

Opened the Lu-Lu and saw all your answers. Thanks a lot guys, I now have to read them quietly (and at these precise moment I have construction workers in the studio that are putting such a noise that I'm going crazy).

Dick, your offer is very tempting! I'd love it. The spanish climate is not something I value as much as before. Madrid is very limited in many aspects.
I really don't know how could I assist you, my knowledge in LF is absolute zero. Grin
I would be a burden for quite a while until I get use to it, but you'd like my french accent! Anyway, assisting is the best school and learning close to an experienced master in real field goes very fast indeed.

That was the "old school" and the only way a painter could learn before until they did those silly fine arts schools. I really beleive in that path.

I'm open and free. (actually I was thinking leaving Spain soon or later) There is nothing really that blocks me here.

Cheers.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2010, 10:28:34 AM »
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And just for not missing a classic:

Ansel Adams: "The Camera"

Cheers
 Roll Eyes
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2010, 11:13:54 AM »
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Dick, your offer is very tempting! I'd love it. The spanish climate is not something I value as much as before. Madrid is very limited in many aspects.
I really don't know how could I assist you, my knowledge in LF is absolute zero. Grin
I would be a burden for quite a while until I get use to it, but you'd like my french accent! Anyway, assisting is the best school and learning close to an experienced master in real field goes very fast indeed.

That was the "old school" and the only way a painter could learn before until they did those silly fine arts schools. I really beleive in that path.

I'm open and free. (actually I was thinking leaving Spain soon or later) There is nothing really that blocks me here.

Cheers.
I am master of nothing, and we would be mutually-supportive: most of what I have to offer is use of my kit.

I am working towards  3/4 systems: Sinar P + P2/LF, Sinar P3/86H, Hasselblad H4D-60(/P3), and I would not be using all of them all the time.

If your day job was to be fashion photography based in the UK Midlands, would your contacts help?

I am posting this on the forum and not as a PM, as there may be other forum members that might contemplate working with me.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2010, 02:21:31 PM »
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I am master of nothing, and we would be mutually-supportive: most of what I have to offer is use of my kit.

I am working towards  3/4 systems: Sinar P + P2/LF, Sinar P3/86H, Hasselblad H4D-60(/P3), and I would not be using all of them all the time.

If your day job was to be fashion photography based in the UK Midlands, would your contacts help?

I am posting this on the forum and not as a PM, as there may be other forum members that might contemplate working with me.
Dick, That's exactly the way I understood your post. I was half kidding with the use of "master", it's so abstract and potentially pretencious that I rather use, experienced in...
Mutual collaboration, support is indeed the way I see the things in general.
That's funny, With the photographer I assist, I am in a different situation that the other assistants in the sense that I never wanted to be the assistant of someone, I use the term for practical reasons here but it's not exactly the relation we have. We collaborate on a larger scale than the shooting and tech tasks.
I've always liked the cooperation. Therefore I have almost all the freedom I want and I know when I can use it or when it's convenient not to.

It's very possible actually that in the next months, I shall appear in London. Maybe there will be some move there, something happened in that sense just last week.
I know very well England. I've always liked it a lot and to be honest I'm thinking more and more about a move over there.
But those are speculations for now until the reality tells it is there, and I will let you know in that case.

Contacts? yes indeed, that's the most important. I met my boss because of a contact, a photographer that I worked with, much smaller structure, and he was happy with me and recommended me. That's how I entered. Step by step I'm doing contacts, knowing the "rules" the right and wrong people etc...

I'm very much in your idea of giving-receiving. I'll let you know for sure about England if something happen in that sense.

Also, that would be great if other forum members might contemplate to work with you. Best luck.

Cheers.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2010, 02:27:56 PM »
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Fred,

Assuming you want to shoot film, I'd go with a Sinar P.  Modular, cheap-ish, one of the best view cameras made.  Accessories are readily available.  I have a P that was my fathers.  I've been shooting it since 1990. I added bellows, wide angle bellows, extension rails, hoods, masks, binocular viewer, binocular reflex viewer, 8x10 format changing kit, etc etc.  For less than $2000 US you can have an amazing, versitile set up.  Or go even cheaper and get a Sinar F2, although they are flimsy feeling.

With my P I can shoot anything:  Macro, portraiture (which is what I mainly shoot), landscape, architecture, from 8x10 down to 6x6 if you get the proper back.

Lenses:  I like Rodenstock and the Caltar II-N branded Rodenstocks.  I have some Schneiders now, and the jury is still out on them.  For portraits in 4x5 I use anything from a 135 Symar-S, a 150 Caltar II-N, or a 210 super symar.  For 8x10 portraits I use a Geortz Dagor, which is like a 280mm. For architecture, strictly a hobby, I use a 115 6.8 Grandagon MC, a 90 F8 Super Angulon, and a 120 F8 Nikkor, which is one of the best lenses every made.

Shoot color and take it to a lab.  If you find you don't like large format, sell it for ewhat you paid for it.

I like to scan.  A V700 or V750 makes decent 11x14's from 4x5.  I use the Epson for proofs, really, or to provide a reference for pre-press. I, or a client, has drum scans made of final selects.

One thing:  Get a polaroid back.  Use it with the Fuji films, and learn that way.  Instant feedback.  Like digital but you have an artifact to keep in a shoebox for 20 years.

As an aside, I had a project to shoot architecture, commissioned by my father.  I bought an Arca Swiss F line and leather bag bellows.  Perfect kit.  The entire kit (lenses, dark cloth, camera, rail, film holders, meter, polaroud back, 6x9 back, fuji film, loupe etc fit in two Tenba Metro Pack shoulder bags.  Very managable for working from a car or a Rock 'n' Roller.  I didn't use the Sinar because it is too big and heavy for an extended project.
Tmark,

Reading your post, you seems to be using (or prefering) film to digital for LF. Am I right? or is it just an interpretation of your post. If so, what are your reasons?
Yes, about film, I have the intention to take a lab. I don't think I'd scan either.

Cheers.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2010, 03:52:45 PM »
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It's very possible actually that in the next months, I shall appear in London. Maybe there will be some move there, something happened in that sense just last week.
I know very well England. I've always liked it a lot and to be honest I'm thinking more and more about a move over there.
Cheers.
I am between Stratford-upon-Avon and Banbury, between Oxford, Birmingham and Bristol, and two or three hours from London... let me know when you are coming to England.
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jsch
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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2010, 03:54:58 PM »
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Tmark,

Reading your post, you seems to be using (or prefering) film to digital for LF. Am I right? or is it just an interpretation of your post. If so, what are your reasons?
Yes, about film, I have the intention to take a lab. I don't think I'd scan either.

Cheers.

Hi,

in my opinion a digital sensor with 40x54 mm is not LF. Most of the "LF effect" happens in the range between 1 and 10 meters distance from the lens. This comes from the difference in magnification. With LF you are closer to 1:1 than with a smaller format. That changes a lot. For example: If you work with 8x10 and use a 300 mm lens, at infinity that lens has a field of view of a 35 mm lens on your Canon. But if you focus at a distance of 1 meter you have a bellows extension of about 420 mm (that is the effective focal length then), that equals a 50 mm on your Canon (some people call this the breathing of the lens because of focusing to a closer distance). The reason is, that at a focusing distance of 1 meter you are already in the macro regime.

That is also the reason why in a landscape photograph with little foreground you don't get the LF effect. Here - I would say - you are better with medium format digital. The LF magic comes if your scene is in the range between 1 meter and 10 meters. The reason is what I described above: You work with magnifications which are in the range of 1:1 to 1:20. In 35mm SLR you call this magnifications the macro regime. A head shot in 8x10 has a magnification of about 1:2 and in digital medium format 1:10.

This is the reason - in my opinion - why people discuss endless whether this mf back is as good as 8x10 or 5x7 or whatever. It depends on what you photograph - better - how far your subject is away. If your subject is far away the sensor or film size has little influence on the look of your image (regarding 3 dimensionality, sharpness fall of or what people call this). Here resolution of the lens and the sensor or film are important. The closer you come to your subject, the more important the sensor or film size becomes.

One remark about lenses: Lenses for smaller formats are much more corrected for spherical aberration than LF lenses. Consequently LF lenses have a nicer transition from sharp to unsharp and their bokeh is less harsh.

OMG, that was very technical, sorry. I hate it if I sound like a little know it all. There is even more to say about this, but I don't want to write a book.

One more thing: That is also the reason - again in my opinion - why Gursky and Burtynsky can change to mf digital without much of a problem (they gain more than they lose with a p65+ or the new Leaf). But for August Sander or Nadar this would have been more difficult - if not impossible.

Best,
Johannes
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fredjeang
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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2010, 04:41:09 PM »
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OMG, that was very technical, sorry. I hate it if I sound like a little know it all. There is even more to say about this, but I don't want to write a book.


Best,
Johannes
It was interesting indeed. As long as you don't upload mystical graphics jpegs I'm happy
Sander, yes.
I'm actually convinced that it's possible to do wonderfull fashion with LF, but not in a commercial assignment but fashion to it's pure artistic commercial free expression.
As models move slowly anyway, and more experienced they are more easy it will be with a LF. Distance is exactly in between 1 and 10 meters.

Cheers.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 08:50:04 AM by fredjeang » Logged
TMARK
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« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2010, 04:52:00 PM »
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Johannes,

Thanks!  Your explanation matches my practice.  I've been shooting an architecture project on 4x5 and 6x7 with a Mamiya 7, and on images with distant elements, there is little or no difference in look, using the same film.

As to Burtenski and Gursky not as affected by a switch to digital because of the subject distances, I do buy that.  I's like to see how Alec Soth's 645 digital files look as opposed to his 8x10 work.  I think his work will look entirely different.

And Fred, I favor film over digital for large format because of the look.  If I shot buildings for a living I'd do so digitally, but in the end its just a 645 (max) sensor.  The only reason I'd use a digital monorail camera would be for movements and the better lenses, but the images would look identical to a MF camera using the same back.  I know I know, the made-for-digital lenses from our German friends are superior, but I'm talking look, not res or minor color differences.  
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Policar
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« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2010, 07:54:09 PM »
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How does lens breathing significantly change the image?  I doubt something taken with a Leica rangefinder at f1 would look that much different from the same shot taken with a 300mm 8x10 at f8--other than grain structure, etc.  With a great lens you can get shallow focus on smaller formats.

While I own a field camera and can't really understand why anyone would need more movements at the cost of portability, all this talk makes me want an 8x10 monorail...
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2010, 03:22:45 AM »
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One remark about lenses: Lenses for smaller formats are much more corrected for spherical aberration than LF lenses. Consequently LF lenses have a nicer transition from sharp to unsharp and their bokeh is less harsh.

OMG, that was very technical, sorry. I hate it if I sound like a little know it all. There is even more to say about this, but I don't want to write a book.

Best,
Johannes

The most spherical-aberration free device you can put on a camera is a pinhole, and large format non-retro-focus, non-tele "normal" lenses are more like a pinhole than most "Lenses for smaller formats" You do not need to correct aberrations that do not occur!
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jsch
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« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2010, 04:30:50 AM »
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How does lens breathing significantly change the image?  I doubt something taken with a Leica rangefinder at f1 would look that much different from the same shot taken with a 300mm 8x10 at f8--other than grain structure, etc.  With a great lens you can get shallow focus on smaller formats.

While I own a field camera and can't really understand why anyone would need more movements at the cost of portability, all this talk makes me want an 8x10 monorail...

Lens breathing is't changing the image. It is just important to know that in 8x10 photography the effective focal length changes a lot in a working distance between 1 an 10 meters. So when using a 300 mm lens it behaves like a 420 mm when you are 1 meter away from your object (and a 360 behaves then like a 560 mm).

I can't speak for the Leica f1 (Roversi is using one to complement his 8x10 Deardorff). I compared a EF 50/1.2L (much cheaper) with a 300 and 360 an can say there is a difference in the image. Different sharpness fall off: depth of field between for and background is more symmetrical and bokeh is nicer on 8x10.

The big advantage with the movements is, that you can put the sharpness where you want it or you remove sharpness from parts of the image where you don't want sharpness. I use it often to bring in a portrait with a tilted head both eyes into sharpness by camera movments. In a full body shot I can keep the head sharp and can control the sharpness fall of from shoulders to legs also by camera movements. A Leica f1 and a Canon f1.2 can't do that. I tried this with the TS-E 45 and 90 lenses. But you are not seeing what you are doing in that small Canon viewfinder. Perhaps it would work with a 10 inch monitor as a live view device.

You can make the Leica f1 / Canon f1.2 look very similar to the 8x10 inch images. But what you win in time during capturing you loose during post. I have to work heavy on the digital files. The 8x10 I just develop (bw) and scan. I enlarge not bigger than A2 so I don't have to un-dust the scans too much before printing.

And people like the 8x10s images better. Usually I don't tell which one is the digital. (As a backup I shoot always some frames with the Canon parallel to the 8x10.)

Best,
Johannes
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 04:37:51 AM by jsch » Logged
jsch
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« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2010, 04:33:38 AM »
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The most spherical-aberration free device you can put on a camera is a pinhole, and large format non-retro-focus, non-tele "normal" lenses are more like a pinhole than most "Lenses for smaller formats" You do not need to correct aberrations that do not occur!

Lenses with spherical glass do have spherical aberrations - especially wide open. But you are right: you have to correct the lenses for smaller formats much more. And that makes the difference.

Best,
Johannes
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KevinA
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« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2010, 04:54:27 AM »
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It will depend a lot on what it is you want as a finished picture. If as I suspect at the moment it is a bit of exploring photography, I would stick with 5x4. There is lots of choice in gear but more importantly in film. A folding flatbed is very versatile, make sure if you are buying off e-bay it takes the modern darkslides.
I know e-bay is a good place to buy, but I think you need a bit of knowledge to ask the correct questions.
I would get over to http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/ where there is a goldmine of experience and equipment for sale.

Kevin.
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« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2010, 04:57:40 AM »
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Just saw this
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Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Mamiya Leaf |
e: ysh@leaf-photography.com | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | www.mamiyaleaf.com | yaya's blog
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« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2010, 05:01:03 AM »
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I would not get to hung-up about the latest lenses etc, most LF optics from 50 years ago and beyond are very capable of top quality results. The same with a camera at this stage, providing it is light tight, takes a film holder and will focus your lens you will be 90% there.

Kevin.
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Rob C
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« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2010, 10:36:41 AM »
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I would not get to hung-up about the latest lenses etc, most LF optics from 50 years ago and beyond are very capable of top quality results. The same with a camera at this stage, providing it is light tight, takes a film holder and will focus your lens you will be 90% there.

Kevin.




You're right, Kevin. In the early 60s I used to print from 4x5 film and glass plate, shots of whole jet engines, and the detail at almost any magnification the darkroom could handle was extraordinary. As was the tonality. And tonality, I believe, is something that matters to Fred, even if he does like white faces like John French used to do so well. ¡Olé!

Rob C
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« Reply #39 on: November 20, 2010, 03:42:37 AM »
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Yes, I love those whitish scotish girls skins! Why have you left Scotland Rob ?!? Actually, I'm doing some fashion testings for my personal book with completly washed faces. Watched again the Lindberg movie http://www.peterlindbergh.com/#FILMS/15, Have you noticed that all his models have strong personality but I'm particularly impressed by Vera Lehndorff in the end. What a character!



Short answer:

a. I brought my Scottish girl with me;

b. she, like myself, preferred the tanned look to the misty paste - so much healthier, on the face of it (groan), but so, so damaging to the skin after many years. My mother always used to tell us both that. Now, I could give Keef Witchards a run for his lines.

Have you noticed that all his models have strong personality but I'm particularly impressed by Vera Lehndorff in the end. What a character!

I give up: the short answer will never do!

Yes, of course they have character, that's why they can offer their art in response to the photographer's own, which is why I claim that that kind of work is creative whereas landscape can't ever be as long as it consists of framing the view. That's a skill, but hardly an art; it's virtually passive at the moment of conception, like a sleeping, drunken, drugged rape.

;-)

Rob C
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