Film Friday - An Inspired Shoot in Queens
Blog by Michael Raso
Last month Jacob Stordahl from Analog Revival asked me to write an article for his new “What’s in Your Camera Bag?” column. The timing was perfect, as I had just scheduled my first film shoot in 2013. You can view that original article here.
In this blog, I will expand upon my original article, adding some images from the various cameras I used on that inspired day in Queens, New York.
above: Location in Queens, New York / Kodak Tri-X / Olympus Stylus 80 Camera
Earlier in the year, an art designer named Jill contacted me via my Model Mayhem page. Model Mayhem is a website that allows photographers, make-up artists and models to post an on-line resume of their work. My profile reads that I’m a film-only photographer, which brought Jill to my page. Sharing similar interests including a love for all things analog (and VHS tapes!), we were off to an excellent start as a creative team. I phoned up my frequent collaborator Paige Davis to do hair and make-up.
We had first made plans to meet over coffee but e-mail correspondences between myself, Paige and Jill led us to the conclusion that why not just dive in and shoot – a test shoot, so to speak. Jill had already secured an amazing WWII-era apartment (owned and décor by Jonathan Bloom) in Queens, NY, so why not “just do it”.
above: The location "made it"! Décor by Jonathan Bloom
Shot on location! My camera array at he Queens, NY location. Canon FT with 19mm Canon FL lens, FPP Debonair 120 camera, Mamiya m645 Medium Format camera, Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash.
The final selection for my camera bag:
Mamiya m645 – The workhorse of medium format cameras and the staple camera for wedding photographers throughout the 1980s and 1990s. As a matter of fact, I purchased my entire Mamiya m645 kit from a retired wedding photographer!
above: Image shot with Mamiya m645 camera - 55mm Mamiya f2.8 lens - Kodak Ektar 100 color film
The Mamiya m645 has a beautiful “magazine style” film inserts that allows you to pre-load cartridges with either 120 or 220 roll film. 16 exposures per 120 roll or 32 exposures from each roll of 220 film. I expected the location to be tight so I brought my 55mm f2.8 lens
above: The classic Canon FT 35mm SLR camera. The camera pictured is wearing a Canon FL 55mm - 135mm f3.5 Zoom Lens
Canon FT – I’ve had my 1966 Canon FT since 1978 when a family member handed it down to me. My first camera never gets too far from sight, a workhorse of a 35mm camera; it’s reliable and does not need a battery to fire the shutter. Today I packed my bag with both a 50mm and 19mm ultra-wide Canon FL lens.
above: Image shot with the Canon FT 35mm SLR camera - Canon 19mm FL lens - Kodak Ektachrome 100 (film expired) / Below: The late 1980s StarBlitz Pro-5000 Flash / Bottom shot: 1950 Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash 620 Film Camera
StarBlitz Pro-5000 Flash – A late 1980s hand-held flash that is always in my bag. The perfect travel flash for off-camera flash photography. Also in my bag is a Lowel 650 Omni light and a set of barn doors.
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye – I always say if you want that “old timey” look then shoot with an old camera! I couldn’t think of a better camera to bring to fit the mood and era than the 1950 Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera. This particular model was literally picked from the trash and had 60 years of storage grit on it. I cleaned it up as best as possible, tested the shutter and included it in the kit for today’s shoot. The Hawkeye shoots 12 square images on 620 roll film.
above: Image shot on the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash 620 Film Camera - Kodak Portra 160 color film / Below: The FPP Debonair 120 film camera
The FPP Debonair Plastic 120 camera – This 1980s plastic wonder is a camera that’s exclusive to the Film Photography Project on-line store. I found a pallet of them in a warehouse up in Rochester, NY and soon arranged to have them shipped to The Film Photography Project. It’s not quite a Holga and certainly not a Diana. The Debonair has its own unique, dreamy look and shoots 16 images on a roll of 120 roll film.
above - The FPP Debonair 120 film camera - OrwoPan 100 (expired)
Olympus Stylus 80 – Never underestimate the awesomeness of the Olympus line of 1990s-era point and shoot 35mm cameras. The leader of the pack is their Olympus Stylus Epic, a coveted, cult camera and worth picking up. “The” camera to always have in your pocket. Today, I packed the Stylus Epic’s cousin – The Olympus Stylus 80. I brought the camera mainly as a Behind-The-Scenes camera but it didn’t surprise me that one of my favorite shots from the day was made using this little marvel!
above: Shot on the Olympus Stylus 80 35mm camera - Kodak Tri-X BW film / Below: Stills from the remarkable Lomography LomoKino 35mm Movie Camera
The LomoKino – Lomography introduced this beauty last year, It’s a hand-cranked camera that shooting 144 small frames per 36 exposure roll of film. Edited together, it produces a silent movie not unlike the style of a 1920-era film. Perfect!
Shooting Expired Film - Experimenting with batches of expired film allows me to select a film stock to capture the mood on film as opposed to using post-production drop-down Photoshop filters. The style and mood is captured in-camera without any post-production, which I love!
Read the recent blog I wrote about shooting expired film - here.
That's it for this edition of FILM FRIDAY. Get out there this weekend and shoot some film!
About Michael Raso
A photographer, producer and filmmaker working professionally in the visual arts for over 20 years, Michael is also the founder of the Film Photography Project and its fortnightly internet radio show, the Film Photography Podcast. Michael's goal?...to get as many people as possible to experience the joys of shooting with traditional film!
Michael Raso on Flickr