There’s nothing like a little distraction to keep you from doing what’s really important. Since the box of cameras arrived last week, I have become an expert at ignoring the various household tasks that could get in the way of my newfound love for vintage photography. I still haven’t bought film for the Polaroids, but even that hasn’t convinced me to face my work. I’ve still found a way to take pictures with the Kodak Duaflex and the TtV method.
TtV is better explained by folk more technically advanced than myself. But it basically comes down to two cameras, a digital with a macro setting or lens (I use my Canon 10D), and a vintage camera with a viewfinder on top (I’m using my Duaflex). You aim the vintage camera at whatever you want to photograph, and then take a picture of the viewfinder of the vintage camera with the digital camera. Once you’ve cropped the resulting photograph, you have a dreamy, scarred image that looks like it was taken with a vintage camera.
So far, so simple. But what really makes the process work (and separates the professionals from us architectural amateurs) is what comes between the two cameras. It’s commonly known as a contraption, and is basically any kind of semi-portable structure that blocks the light and subsequent reflections that could get in the way of a good image.
These contraptions come in all shapes and sizes, from precise, professional structures to haphazard nightmares that fall apart any time you touch them. The one I made from an old black sock and a Pringles can definitely falls into the second category.
It’s so unstable, it can only shoot from a solid surface, which has cut down on what I can photograph. I have a lot of work to do before taking it outside, where I really want to try TtV (partially because it is beautiful outside, partially because when I’m outside I don’t have to look at the laundry that hasn’t been folded because of these demmed cameras).
Not being the type to let that dissuade me from my mission of photographic procrastination, I still took several pictures that I like. The first was of my Chinese rooster statue. I was really surprised at how much detail the old lens managed to capture. It was beautiful straight of the camera, but I did edit a little. It started out with just a bit of sharpening, but when I tried to make it monochromatic, I loved the way it went with the texture of the photo (not to mention, when one is staring deep into Photoshop, one does not have to meet the baleful gaze of one’s unfolded sweaters).
With this in mind, I did several different monochromatic edits. I’ve narrowed my favorites to three images, but for the life of me can’t decide beyond that.
After I was satisfied with my rooster, I had to try one more picture (promising myself to get back to work once I was done, of course). I photographed an old bottle full of dried flowers that I picked around my parent’s pond last summer. And ignoring my promise to myself (you know what they say about Hell and intentions and all that rot), I promptly sat down to edit that picture too. It wasn’t as sharp as the rooster photo, but I thought it added a dreamy, nostalgic, almost Civil War feel to it.
While I liked the monochromatic edits for the rooster, I thought it took this picture to a whole new vintage level. Again, I could only narrow it down to three favorites.
And while I’d love to sit here a little longer, narrowing it down further, that laundry has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s not going anywhere on its own.
Off to fold,