Landing in Sarajevo after a gruelling 26-hour flight from Australia, this trip to meet my wife’s family was to be my first time in Europe and also a chance to return to my family roots in Sweden. Being a keen photographer, I would normally travel with several lenses however this trip I decided to bring along a Canon 5d Mkiii, a 24-70mm f2.8L ii and a lightweight Vortex tripod.
We were to spend six weeks with family in and around Sarajevo with a short road trip thrown in for good measure followed by several weeks in Scandinavia.
Walking the old city streets of Sarajevo, I spied the black and silver face of a Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor 56/2 in the window of a second-hand goods store. No guessing that I was a tourist the attendant stated the price was 125BAM (Aud$100) however my wife spoke with the salesman (in Bosnian) and presto the price dropped 25% to Aud$75, all were smiling and laughing and we were now the proud owner of a mint Zeiss Ikon box camera.
I eventually bought some Ilford FP4 whilst road tripping in Budapest, Hungary. Finally let the fun begin, with the Canon dslr pulling double duty as camera and a rather expensive light meter we wandered the streets of the beautiful twin city. The hustle and bustle of a large European city is a massive contrast to the cities of Australia.
The Austro-Hungarian architecture, the statues, the palace, a very difficult language for someone with little language skills, this was all very new to me as I juggled the large Canon digital and the medium format box camera.
Eventually we travelled to Sweden and landed in my Grandfather’s hometown of Gothenburg, although I had never been to Sweden previously it was weird like returning home but to a place I had never previously been, the wide streets and parks, the short days of the Scandinavian November and a cold that I had never felt before.
Standing at Göteplasten adjacent the beautiful Poseidon statue and the Hasselblad Centre I was shooting with the box camera when I noticed an elderly man, maybe 85 years of age, smiling at me. Through his broad smile, in Swedish then broken English he revealed that he too owned the same camera when he was a young man.
As with the cities and countryside of Europe, the king of box cameras, the Zeiss Ikon Box Tenger 56/2 is old and beautiful. In its basic form it produces big 6×9 negatives that are unique and timeless. One shutter speed, 1/30 and ‘T’, three aperture settings f9, f11 and f16 and three focus settings, 1 – 3m, 3 – 8m and 8 – infinity. The Zeiss Ikon 56/2 is a wonderful medium format camera that every film photographer should try.
Not only does the box camera force you to read the light, it brought back what may have been a long-lost photography memory for an old gentleman and that’s worth the price.
Thanks for reading, you can find more of my photography on instagram @carlson.zizic.photography
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