Thirty years after

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Something happened last year.

After more than 10 years of full digital commitment, running around faster and faster and shooting millions of (often completely useful and meaningless) images, simply I couldn’t go on anymore. Until then I would never had thought to use film photography again for the rest of my life.

I was wrong!

I wanted to enjoy again that deep sense of accomplishment you feel when doing one of the things you most passionate about in life. I wanted to find a better inner balance, a greater emotional involvement in the act of taking a photograph, a less ephemeral satisfaction in assessing the result of my actions. A slower approach, more thoughtful, devoid of those thousands technological complications that often are very useful but, gradually had almost depersonalized my relationship with photography. So, what better than starting all over again, with film rolls, manual focus cameras and maybe, external exposure meters? A roll of film, often medium format, with limited (and expensive) shots, so you can not waste them, shooting wildly, almost without thinking even more. Timidly, I began to consider buying some analog equipment and the first one was a Yashica Mat 124G. I had had one 30 years ago and, despite having sold her, there was left emotionally very attached. She was a nice camera (so called the poor man’s Rolleiflex) who made wonderful photographs. I have not been very lucky with that purchase on Ebay, but I managed to get some decent shots.

Since then, it’s been almost a year and many thinghs happened. I have read and studied a lot, and photographed a lot less … but feeling much better.

I was struck by GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) too, fascinated by folding cameras (just bought my fyfth one), by the results of the vintage lenses, by the build quality of many cameras built 70-80 years ago. I also started a blog, but I posted only photographs, without comments. Now I feel the need to communicate my experiences, to tell my journey, as well as to show the results. So, I decided to start this new blog, in hopes of being able to communicate and share the beauty of analog photography.

The image of this post is very significant for me. When I was young I loved photographing this beautiful Romanic church  but, for one reason or another, I could never get satisfactory images. Last year, however, during one of my first photowalks with the Yashica Mat (and before her shutter stopped working permanently) I got in and as always, I was fascinated by the purity of its architectural style, by the lights coming through the windows placed high up. I did not have a tripod, and so, I supported the Yashica on a bench placed in back of the church. I tried to get the best achievable framing in those conditions, looking carefully through her waist level finder. I measured the exposure with an old Zeiss Ikophot and then …. I took the shot (while two people passed by).

Thirty years after…. I self developed a b/w roll and this image came out. You can imagine my satisfaction! Yes, I was on the right way…. a long and hard way, but the right one, for sure…

Tech data: Camera: Yashica Mat 124G – Film: Rollei Rpx 400 – Developer: Adox Adonal 1:100 – Scanner: Epson V550

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6 thoughts on “Thirty years after

  1. Just found this website this week and I like this name infinitely better. I’m interested in a medium format folder. I smile so much more looking at film images. I was grinning ear to ear a couple months ago at RangeFinder forum. Clicked on the medium format folding camera and saw alot of extraordinary images. I’m hooked and want Hasselblad format 6×6 model. Do you have a favorite model Donato ?

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  2. Hi Hunter,
    Yes, there’s a lot of extraordinary images made with folding cameras. That’s hooked me too…. and I’m waiting for my Fifth & Sixth one…. 😉 So, haven’t yet a preferred one (maybe in next months I’ll post some review) If you wanna try one, you can go for Zeiss Ikontas or Nettars just for starting…. 😉

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  3. Hi Donato
    Found your name in the comments section over at The Online Darkroom and thought it might be worth to pay you a visit. And it sure is by the looks of this first post. I know exactly what you talking about here, having been there myself coming from an era where film was the only medium available, over to these days when you’re being looked upon as something very strange when you pick up one of those old cameras. Well… I needed it, myself as well, to go back to where I started. It was the only way I could get my feet on the ground again, after I nearly got cought in the digital hurricane of those myriads of pictures.
    I am really looking forward to read through you blog, and will of course also make sure I follow it to get updated. Starting here and now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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