I attended a fabulous Midsommar Party last night, with dancing, liquor, a Maypole and lovely folks. I snapped this dramatic shot of one of the hosts with my trusty Brownie Box 2 from 1907.
A good friend of mine is a avid collector of pulp fiction and magazines, as well as being a fairly well-known amateur radio show historian. He is also a medical doctor, adding a bit of credence to his online handle, “Doc Mystery.” In May, I joined him in attending the annual Toronto Fantastic Pulp Show. It takes places in the basement of the Lillian H. Smith library, which not coincidentally houses the 72,000 pieces of the Judith Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy. Though the vendors (and patrons) are aging, each year the show provides a glimpse of our strange subculture’s early days.
Here I’ve caught “Doc” as he strolls down to the show. I was shooting with a Pentax ME Super loaded with expired 800 ISO colour film. Converting to monochrome made for a much more striking image.
I have acquired a portrait adapter for my 107-year-old Kodak Brownie Box camera. It offers a very shallow depth of field, about 100 to 110 centimeters. This means everything else is transformed into a gauzy fairy land – as with this photo of a friend’s daughter blowing bubbles on a bright, sunny day.
Earlier this year I acquired a Kiev 6C from a dealer in the Ukraine. It’s the poorly regarded version of the 66, but mine seems to work well. When I received it, it contained a roll of exposed C41 film. I don’t have the chemicals to develop this, so I took it off to the friendly local camera store, Belle Arte on Ottawa Street. I was hoping for a roll of Soviet-vintage shots, but it seems to be much more recent.
The first photo was of the blurry interior of a mobile phone store.
The second? Half a laundry room, an apparent accidental shot, or a shot taken while spooling on the roll.
Then, man with a baby.
And a woman with a baby.
And then… a baby.
So, perhaps it wasn’t a bunch of Brezhnev’s holiday photos. But an interesting glimpse into life in another land.
My friend Perth is an interesting woman. She’s a construction worker, a boxer, and an enormous Dungeons and Dragons nerd. She was also an excellent model for some photos I contributed to an exhibit exploring gender roles. The top photo was taken with my a380 DSLR, the bottom with an old Soviet Kiev 6C medium format SLR. I thought her revolutionary pose was a good fit for the camera.
I don’t like Starbucks. Over sweet and over priced. But I like this photo of my wife Desi, despite some light leaks. I was shooting on an old Soviet Zenit-E, which is a fine old tank of an SLR. If you find one in good working order, they often have very nice Helios lens attached. I bought mine for $10, and I sometimes use the lenses (with an adapter) on my Sony a380 DSLR.