The Goddess Lives – Studio Glamour With the Plate Camera

amanda-007a_edited-1.jpgI am in several minds right now. Those of you who know me may not be able to discern any difference in my normal demeanour, but I am currently dealing with a quandary: Should I sell my studio camera or keep it?

The heading image is of the fabulous Amanda taken for an Art Nouveau exhibition a few years back. It did not start out quite this historical but Alien Skin software is a seductive tool and leads us back to many previous eras. You’ll also see a colour image below taken at the time on Kodak Porta 160 sheet film – there is an undefined magnificence in large format photography that is difficult to reproduce with small digital work.

Yet…the chemicals that produced the sheet film negative are corrosive in the extreme and few of us wish to go back to them. The environment is better off not seeing them in the sewers. We can do a great deal more in a cleaner darkroom if we stick to digital.

Yet…the effects of large format lenses and the shallow depth of field that they produce are valid tools in the re-creation of historic images. A Petzval is a Petzval and a Rapid Rectilinear is a Rapid Rectilinear and you can tell it from the results.

The studio camera was purchased new in 2000. It is a Linhof monorail. There are three Schneider lenses and an instrument of torture from Rodenstock. There is a bag bellows for extreme movements – that one never uses anyway…There is a roll film back for cheap assignments.

Shall I sacrifice it and add to the digital stable of lenses? Will I weaken? Can I produce a valid historic digital camera in my workshop? Only time will tell. Yet…Amanda 008_edited-1

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