5 frames with...

5 (6) frames with a Hasselblad in Mississippi – by Andrew Morang

March 14, 2018

Dear Readers, I still have a few rolls of Ektar 25 in 120 size in my freezer. My rolls expired in 1995, but fortunately they seem to be responding correctly without obvious color shifts. Of course, now I wish I had bought much more 25 (or Royal Gold 25, which was the same thing) before it was discontinued around 2000. Winter in Mississippi has some days with drizzle or soft light with overcast skies, which are perfect for the Ektar’s unique palette.

A Hasselblad 501CM is not exactly a compact camera as per the 35MMC theme, but it is reasonably small for a 6×6 reflex camera, and I can operate it with gloves. All the examples below are tripod-mounted with the mirror pre-released, exposures 1 to 1/8 sec, light measured with a Gossen Luna-Pro Digital meter in incident mode at EI 25.

The lenses were the Planar 80mm f/2.8 CB and the Distagon 50mm f/4. I mounted the camera on an early 1900s wood Crown No. 4 tripod via a Linhof Profi II ball head. Wood is good material for tripods because it dampens vibrations quickly. I scan my negatives with an early-2000s Minolta Scan Multi medium format film scanner, operated with SilverFast software, all controlled by an old 32-bit Windows 7 computer.

Arcadia Place, Vicksburg, Mississippi. These are typical southern “shotgun houses,” which are rapidly disappearing from the architectural scene. 50mm Distagon.

Avon Grocery and Depot, Avon, Mississippi. It will be worth checking out the BBQ during a work day. 80mm Planar.

Shotgun House, Avon Gin, Rte. 1, Avon, Mississippi. 50mm Distagon.

Stouts Bayou from Ave. D bridge, Vicksburg, Mississippi. This bayou (or stream) was channelized in the 1930s as part of a WPA depression-era project and has received barely any maintenance since then. 50mm Distagon.

Stouts Bayou from Lee Street bridge, Vicksburg, Mississippi. This is an example of what is happening to our infrastructure in the USA. 50mm Distagon.

Fairground Street Bridge, Vicksburg, Mississippi. This is a Keystone bridge with parts brought from Pittsburgh in the late 1800s. 80mm Planar.

Thank you for reading. For more film examples from Mississippi and elsewhere, please go to: https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com

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  • Reply
    Karl Valentin
    March 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    I also miss this film a lot together with Kodachrome 64
    and the impressing Agfa APX25 they were the best films
    ever made…..

  • Reply
    Terry B
    March 14, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Andrew, being a 6×6 user myself, YashicaMat, Mamiyaflex C330S and Rolleiflex 3.5f, for 40+ years, I could tell straight away that these images were shot on MF. So I was interested in knowing how they were scanned.

    I must confess that the story they portray is the opposite end of the so-called “American Dream”. I thought at first you were shooting scenes of urban decay but then the cars in one shot revealed people actually live in them, and I then became somewhat shocked. And from your comment, the BBQ is still going. I noticed they serve bourdin and kielbasa (my favourite sausage after Toulouse) so you should get a tasty snack! Add a comment how you got on. :D)

    • Reply
      March 14, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      Terry, thank you for your comments. A couple of notes:
      1. The “American Dream” in rural USA is much different then many people from overseas or even from the US coastal areas could ever imagine. Poverty in much of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana is grim. This applies elsewhere as well, but I have less experience with other states.
      2. Scanning: I use two early-2000s Minolta Scan Multi medium format film scanners. To use them, I had to revive an old 32-bit Dell computer, install Windows 7, install SCSI cards, find the right drivers, and buy SilverFast Ai software. Hamish asked me to write an article about the scanners, which is another project for my to-do list.

      • Reply
        Peter Boorman
        March 14, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        My Minolta Scan Multi Pro is attached to a desktop running XP, because I couldn’t find drivers for it for anything more recent. Where did you find your Win7 drivers, may I ask? Or will I have to wait for your article!?

        (I am waiting, with bated breath, already – since I love my scanner, but still don’t feel I’ve ever got the very best out of it.)

        • Reply
          March 14, 2018 at 9:24 pm

          Getting the right drivers for Win 7 was a complicated mess of trial and error. I tried VueScan, and I believe it loaded the correct drivers. However, it never operated my Minolta Scan Multi correctly, no matter what I tried. So I used the Minolta software for a few weeks, but it was clumsy and did not scale on my screen properly. Finally, I bought SilverFast Ai at their Christmas sale. It is possible that the SilverFast has the drivers, but I am not sure. If you have a desktop running XP, I recommend you just keep using it. Keep it as a standalone dedicated to scanning only, i.e., not networked. Then you do not need to worry about updates or viruses. Good luck!

          • Terry B
            March 19, 2018 at 10:36 am

            Andrew, advice about XP is exactly how I use my Minolta Dimage Elite Scan II, which runs XP only. I had a quick trial of Vuescan but really didn’t like it, so I bought a a cheap Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop with XP instead. I did a one-time only connection to the internet to get the latest drivers and MS updates, then disabled wifi. I only need the laptop as a capture device, it runs Elements 8 with no problem; images are then transferred to my more powerful machines for processing.

  • Reply
    Dan Castelli
    March 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Andrew, Thanks for the article on the ‘Blad. I never owned one, but during the early 70’s I had access to them on a regular basis. They were used to produce work for a university press. I shot lots of Tri-X with the 50mm. Such a superb camera. Beautiful Zeiss lenses. I prefer the Zeiss ZM lenses over the native Leica lenses on my Leicas.
    The photos are pure FSA style. I’m an ‘east coaster’, but I understand your comments about encountering & viewing rural poverty. Even here in ‘wealthy’ Connecticut, I can find pockets of similar poor/depressed areas that go back generations. We become blind to them, so when work like yours is published, it helps to remind us not all share the American Dream.
    Don’t you just love the small, family run BBQ joints? Good food, better people and much warmth.

  • Reply
    JF Bonnin
    March 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Great images, indeed : congratulations.
    Unfortunately, I cannot afford Hasselblad cameras and their superb lenses.
    Greetings from : JF Bonnin

    • Reply
      March 14, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. I see from your address that you are in France. In USA, used Hasselblads are very reasonable, but I do not know the situation in France. As an example, my beautiful 50 Distagon lens was only $400, and an older chrome 250mm Sonnar was $87! The Distagon was cheaper than cheesy plastic lenses sold to digital users. I bet you can do it. Or, try a Bronica SQ.

  • Reply
    Karl Valentin
    March 15, 2018 at 1:23 am

    My alltime favourit lens for the Hassi will be the Sonnar 4,0/150 C
    The old silver C version is a pleasure to use and a example for finest

  • Reply
    Terry B
    March 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Andrew, Dan.

    Touching upon the “American Dream”, quite coincidentally a book that I’d ordered arrived this morning. I have to confess it turned out to be something entirely different to that which I’d anticipated. It is entitled “A History of Photography from 1839 to the Present”, and is based on the George Eastman House Collection. The “Present” is 1999. although I have the 2011 reprint.

    I was expecting a technical tome, but the book is a collection of photographic images, not a picture of a camera in sight. Approximately 690 of its 766 pages are devoted to the images, nearly all taken by well known photographers of their era, mostly one image per page, with running text.

    On page 592 is an image by Margaret Bourke-White taken in 1937 at the time of the Louisville flood, and shows a line of hungry and displaced black individuals queuing for food in front of a billboard showing a smiling mum and dad with their daughter in a car and which is proclaiming “World’s Highest Standard of Living”, emblazoned across the top, and “There’s no way like the American Dream” at the bottom right. Seems like nothing has changed in the intervening 80 years or so.

    I got the book via AbeBooks.co.uk. They are not a bookshop, per se, but a facility for book shops to list their books. It is not solely for the UK, they list international sellers and I’ve purchased some books from US sellers. Buyers don’t deal directly with the bookshops, orders are placed via AbeBooks who then deal with the sellers. Books do come direct from the sellers, so postage rates can vary. I’ve absolutely no connection with AbeBooks other than a satisfied client. But I’d certainly recommend book lovers checking them out.

  • Reply
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    […] Thank you for looking at my pictures. For more examples of urban decay, please see: https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com. For some photographs of Mississippi taken on Ektar 25 film, please see this post […]

  • Reply
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