My girlfriend and I started this journey of analog photography with an Olympus OM10 three years ago. Now we shoot almost every day, we develop and scan all of our film and I couldn’t be happier.
As a commercial photographer I was starting to become bored of the ease and predictability of digital. When you’re able to shoot 200+ photos per session the value of those pictures are more or less 1/200… That’s one of the reasons I love medium format specially, I think that 10, 12, 16 frames are more than enough to get the sense of what you’re trying to capture. More than this it’s just background noise, get to the point. Think, shoot and develop.
I bought this RB67 a year ago from a retiring studio photographer, there are so many of them right now here in Spain, selling all their stuff. To be honest, I don’t use it so much. It’s really large and heavy, very clunky and awkward to hold. I’d rather pack my Hasselblad which is lighter and feels better in the hand, but I must admit this Mamiya is close to be the perfect camera in many other respects. And since I bought a grip for it and it’s a bit more comfy to use.
The focusing screen is bright, and the split screen is quite helpful for fine focusing, the bellows extension gives you the ability to focus super close, which is something I really like – details and close-ups are something I really value in a photo series.
Another key feature of the RB67 is the rotating back, I really miss it when I shoot with smaller 6×4.5 cameras. It inspires me to not get stuck on a portrait or landscape orientation, when I shoot it, every time I advance the film I rotate the back, that way I get one of each picture.
Last summer, we were at a party in my neighbour’s house by the river, when a nearby forest was struck by lighting and a huge wildfire started. These summer storms can get really dangerous when the plants are all dry. We could see the 20 meter flames from the house, it wasn’t a big loss because it was just re-planted trees, but it was a bit sad.
A couple of days later, when the fire was extinguished, my girlfriend and I decided to go there, explore the area and take a look of the damage, we found this desolate landscape.
I shot a roll of Portra 400 in almost no time, the light was harsh, but I metered for the shadows at ISO 200, so the shadows have some detail. The roll was, as always, developed and scanned at home. Living in a medium/small sized town in Spain doesn’t give you many options with film.
My girlfriend used to do some modelling work, so it’s really easy to take pictures of her, she’s almost always my subject. I found in these pictures a beautiful contrast between the beauty and the fragility of the human being and the roughness of the life we live in, which inspired me to continue to explore the concept of individualism through images.
If you liked these pictures you can see more of my work on instagram: @paulmarble
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