A Mamiya Six Folder camera with Fuji Provia on the side.
5 frames with...

5 Frames of Milan With a Mamiya Six Folder and Fuji Provia – By Rodrigo Verissimo

March 13, 2022

What’s a more portable way to do a trip and still shoot medium format? A folder camera of course!

Back in October 2019, I needed to go to Milan with some friends for a conference and I needed to pick a single camera and lens to go with me since I like to travel light. I could bring a 35mm camera, but since this was my 3rd flight away from Portugal I wanted to have more impactful images from the trip. This made me opt for my medium format camera, the Mamiya Six Folder rangefinder camera with its Zuiko 7.5cm f/3.5 lens. The choice of film was simple, I already had a couple of rolls of Fuji Provia which fit exactly what I wanted – to look directly at the slides years from now and remember it.

On the first day, we went to the (very popular) main Milan Square, the Piazza del Duomo. It was late afternoon, already the golden hour. It fascinated me how the sunlight differs between locations around the globe (I had already been to London and Berlin at the time). The sunlight brought this warm and soft orange cast on the beautiful Cathedral and the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II.

If it wasn’t the best time to shoot slide film, then I don’t really know what is! I metered for the highlights with my phone app and took a total of three frames as I entered the Galeria. By shooting with a 6×6 camera, I find it best to go for symmetry which was fairly easy to obtain from this architecture. Looking back at the images, I really love the gradation of light from the warm sunlight to the shadows as well as its beautiful symmetry.

The entrance of the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II during golden hour.

The entrance of the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II.

The main hall of the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II.

The main hall of the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Sunset light cast on a Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II wall.

The wall which I gravitated towards. The light was surreal.

On the third day, I managed to get a free morning in which I didn’t need to be at the conference. So, I woke up early and did a long walk alone through Milan that I had already planned to do. I just wanted to absorb the city life and, of course, get some interesting shots along the way!

I recall it was a dark, cloudy day with some rain now and then but nothing serious. What I loved the most about the city was how much the buildings merged with plants as well as the number of small parks and interior gardens. I took some frames of them and I am sharing here two of them. In cloudy and shaded places such as in these two frames, the film’s cold cast is very clear. That’s why I highly recommend using a warming filter if you have one (I just didn’t have one for the Mamiya Six). Fuji Provia’s rendition of greens did not let me down, they are beautiful! That is one of the reasons I prefer to use Fuji stocks when I know that I’ll be taking photographs in places with plants and trees.

Building full with plants on every floor, surrounded by trees.

I loved how the buildings were full of plants!

A small interior garden with a small fountain in the center.

A small interior garden with a small fountain in the center.

Back home, I sent these rolls to be developed in a lab and scanned them myself with my trusty Epson V550 scanner and Silverfast. Now that I am writing this article, I grabbed my 2019 archive and went through the slides once again over my light table. They look as great as when I scanned them almost 3 years ago. This is why I photograph – to remember.

Thank you for reading!
See more of my work on my Website, Instagram and Twitter.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Martin
    March 13, 2022 at 10:24 am

    I just finished the first roll (Portra 400) in my freshly CLA’d Mamiya Six Automat – still need to send it out for developing.
    Thanks for sharing the story and the photos, a good way to start into a Sunday morning!

  • Reply
    Harry Machold
    March 13, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Rodrigo,
    thank you for this so personal article about Milan and its colours.
    I had to go to this city so often in my past life for business and therefor had never the time to take pictures..
    You were better off and smarter…
    Milan has something so special to it.
    Though in parts as ugly as most other cities are; it still preserves this Lombardien feeling of an old and still vivid Northern Italian city.
    The film here was the best choice…
    I am looking for more to come
    Best regards
    Harry

  • Reply
    TB
    March 13, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    Where did you have your Automat repaired.
    I m having difficulties with mine

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