Sunday, December 18, 2005

Marilyn Lee



At the end of a long portrait session, I asked Marilyn to pose for the 4x5 camera. I took this shot on Polaroid 55 and gave her the instant positive. This is scanned from the negative. As you can see the entire feel is very different from the digital shots. There just seems to be a presence for me. As the process of shooting the 4x5 camera is very obvious for the subject and photographer, a different, more grounded engagement is needed. The resultant image tends to be soft, shooting 4x5 at f5.6 and 1/8s, I guess that I should expect it. Still love the feel.

I took a couple of colour slide film shots on the 4x5 too but I did not like the results.

6 comments:

Ivan Chew said...

Interesting... looks as if like two different persons. What is it that makes the person look different? The way it was shot? Or a different way the model was made up?

Heng said...

The digital images were shot on a Canon SLR camera. The b/w was shot on a large format 4x5 camera. It is huge. So the camera is different.

The interaction between photograpehr and subject is also different. It is more considered. Digital frames can be deleted at no extra cost. Each large format frame costs quite a bit of money and the set up for a shot is much more laboured.

kiampa said...

hi ngiap heng!

does the 4x5 viewfinder let you look down or do you have to look through straight to the subject SLR style? just curious to know...

i went with joyce to the diane arbus exhibition in london today. the most interesting thing for me was how the roles of different format camera played a very big part in arbus' feel for the picture (nikon F --> rolleiflex TLR --> pentax 6x7) but ultimately of course it had to do with what arbus wanted to get out of the picture in the first place. and TLR cameras were ideally suited for what she was doing at the time because of the superior tonality for flesh tones, as well allowing the camera to be less obtrusive when she interacted with her subjects...but it was still a painful process initially whenever she made a major shift over to a new system.

i have been seriously considering going into digital capture mainly because i want to start working in colour and flash street photography. but i have to work out what kind of equipment would be best suited to my style. something small...

Heng said...

Hi Geoff,

The 4x5 has a ground glass plate where the image forms. It is upside down and left to right. You need a loupe to check sharpness and a black hood when shooting outdoors.

Joyce Yao?

TLR, yes, looking down and you also have to invert the image in your head. I have worked with the Hassleblad and still love it. So I have used SLR and DSLR and medium format. The 4x5 is like an alien machine to me. It feels like I just started photography yesterday. But then it is in the challenge of the new that sometimes I find deeper insights into the art and life.

That is why I have bought a really wide angle lens for Rajasthan and I am determined to explore the space and composition of images that has always been one of my weaker points.

pfong said...

Heng, I'm usually not a fan of full face shots as it emphasises broad faces, but this shot has lovely depth and dimensionality that makes it riveting.

Kiampa, the Canon 350 is probably the smallest body you can go for in a digital SLR. Of course, there are plenty of other smaller options if SLR is not a must.

Heng said...

Hi Paul, glad you like it. Although the image can be theoretically shot on an SLR or medium format, there is a presence or an honest reaction that comes from large format photography. It is similar to how Leica photographers tend to observe more before shooting compared to SLR shooters. There is a complicity between the subject and the photographer that I am keen to explore.