Olympus Pen F

Olympus Pen F – The Walk to Paradise Garden and W. Eugene Smith.

William Eugene Smith, better known as W Eugene Smith is one of The Greats.

One of the greatest photographers of all time, a Magnum photographer famous mostly for his reportage work during and after the second world war. (If you’re unfamiliar, I’ve added some links below). Now this isn’t an essay on W Eugene Smith, I’m not an expert nor am I an art historian of any sort – I just know a few things about him and have been admiring his work for years. His work is very moving and very dark – Don McCullin in many ways reminds me of him – it seems as if the darkness in their soul was made manifest in much of the photographic work that they made – as if the darkroom was where their soul, as a disembodied entity, under the red glow of the safe light, was absorbed into and made it’s way into the photographic enlarger and immortalised onto the gelatine and silver print.

5 frames with the original Olympus Pen – by Graham Spinks

The original Olympus Pen is a design icon.  It is small, elegant, lovely to hold and shoot and has a fantastic 28mm lens.  It is an early masterpiece from the designer Maitani Yoshihisa who was later to create other revolutionary camera designs including the OM-1 and the XA.  When the Pen was released in Japan in 1959 it was an instant success and paved the way for the development of a series of half-frame Pen variants during the 1960s and beyond. 

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