HESO Magazine

Photography, Music, Film, Hitchhiking, Craft Beer – Cultural Pugilist

Category: Photographic (Page 4 of 6)

Fan faces at Fujirock (Manny Santiago)

Modern Japan with Horizon S3

In part IV of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Horizon S3 Pro Panoramic. The Horizon is a mechanical swing-lens panoramic camera manufactured by Krasnogorskiy Zavod in Krasnogorsk, Russia, known for their range of Zenit cameras.

The Horizon was produced in two formats: the 205pc, which took 50.5×110 mm wide frames on 120 film, and the 202, which took 24×58 mm wide frames on perforated 35 mm film. The 202 has been superseded by the S3pro, a redesigned and improved camera with silent rotation and more exposure times.

An older version called the Horizont, produced in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, had an all-metal, rectangular body and a removable viewfinder. The technology of the “202” is basically the same, but the body covering is plastic, and has an integrated viewfinder, making it larger. Additionally, the 202 features a slow-speed shutter mechanism, with exposure times of 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 of a second; the S3-Pro has exposure times of 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 second, slower rotation than the 202, and silent rotation. It has been appropriated by Lomo.

Modern Japan with Horizon S3

The Modern Japan Gallery

Your Stomach Will Whisper The Way (HESO Magazine)

HESO Photo of the Week from Patrick Gookin II

Your Stomach Will Whisper The Way (HESO Magazine)

"Your Stomach Will Whisper The Way" Patrick Gookin

Patrick Gookin is a photographer from Los Angeles, CA by way of New Hampshire and Tokyo, collaborating with the poet Gabe Rothschild who writes titles and verses to go along with the images. In his own words, “We try to capture the absurd realities of living, especially those that come along with being an visitor in a foreign land.” See more of their work here.

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Modern Japan with a Nikon N80

Modern Japan with a Nikon N80

In part III of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Nikon N80 Film Camera manufactured for amateur photographers with advanced skills from January 2000 worldwide. The successor to the F70 it was based on a stripped down version of the F100.

Three versions of the F80 are available, the F80, the F80D which has a different back that can imprint date information on the frame and the F80S which can also imprint exposure data between frames in addition to the date information. Using the exposure data imprint function will slow the F80 varying on film speed and temperature. So why the hell would you want that?

The F80 was chosen by Nikon to be the basis for the popular Nikon D100 digital SLR. The chassis was also used by Fujifilm as the basis for the FinePix S2 Pro and S3 Pro, and by Eastman Kodak for the Kodak DCS Pro 14n and DCS Pro SLR/n. It was the SLR film camera precursor to the DSLR, the infamous “missing link” in the chain from analog to digital.

Rumors were abound during 2005 that Nikon would make a successor to the F80, and discontinue most other film cameras apart from the F6 and the F80 replacement. Early in 2006 Nikon announced that they intend to drop production of all film cameras apart from the F6 and FM10.

Modern Japan with a Nikon N80

The Modern Japan Gallery

Proud to be in Love © Cédric Spilthooren (HESO Magazine)

Proud to Be in Love by Cédric Spilthooren

Proud to be in Love © Cédric Spilthooren (HESO Magazine)

Iden and Jane © Cédric Spilthooren

In a country where communal and family values are the pillars of society, where the notion of “filial devotion” determines the intimate sphere of orientations, to assume and live one’s sexual orientations is a wager. By freeing themselves, some of these couples have decided to live together, others have the intention to do so. This work doesn’t aim at having a hasty opinion on Chinese society but, through these photos and interviews, to tell a story about people who love each other.

To read the full interviews please see Cédric Spilthooren’s website

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Modern Japan with Holga 120S

Modern Japan with Holga 120S

In part II of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Holga 120S. The Holga is a medium format 120 film camera, made in Hong Kong, known for its low-fidelity aesthetic. The Holga 120S – The original Holga, since discontinued. Fixed shutter speed, adjustable focus, plastic 60mm f/8 meniscus lens, two-position f-stop switch, hot shoe, and 6×4.5 cm film mask.

Most Holga cameras use a single-piece plastic meniscus lens with a focal length of 60 millimeters and utilize a zone-focus system that can adjust from about 1 meter (3 feet) to infinity. Like any simple meniscus lens, the Holga lens exhibits soft focus and chromatic aberration. Other Holga variants, denoted either by the letter ‘G’ in their model name, or the name WOCA, feature a simple glass lens, but are otherwise identical in construction. The manufacturer has since outsourced supply of the varying plastic and glass lenses to contractors in Japan and China

There is an aperture setting switch on the camera with two positions indicated by pictorial ideograms: sunny and cloudy, with a nominal value of f/11 and f/8, respectively. Due to a manufacturing oversight, this switch has no effect on pre-2009 production cameras, and the actual aperture is around f/13, giving the Holga just one aperture. The problem is reported as having been fixed in cameras post-2009, providing two working aperture settings of f/13 and f/20, and earlier cameras are modifiable to provide two usable settings. Apertures of f/10 and f/13 work well for ISO200 speed films, while settings of f/13 and f/19 tend to suit faster films of around ISO400.

The Holga was originally designed to accept either a 6×4.5 format or a 6×6 (square) format. However, once the camera went into production, vignetting (darkening of the corners of the finished photograph) occurred when the camera was modified to a 6×6 format. Hence, early Holgas had their film size switches tightly fixed to shoot only 6×4.5 format. Many owners removed both this restriction and the 6×4.5 film mask as well, finding the resultant vignetting a desirable effect.[6] Later Holgas such as the 120N come with two masks for both the 6×4.5 and 6×6 format. Holgas can even be modified to use 35mm film.

The Holga has one shutter speed – approximately 1/100th of a second. The camera can shoot 16 exposures per 120 roll in 6×4.5 cm format or 12 exposures in 6×6 format. Film is advanced by a knob on the top of the camera, and frame numbers printed on the backing paper of the film can be viewed through a red window on the back of the Holga. The number of frames chosen is indicated by the black arrow.

The Holga’s low-cost construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blur, light leaks, and other distortions. The camera’s limitations have brought it a cult following among some photographers, and Holga photos have won awards and competitions in art and news photography.

The Holga camera was designed by T. M. Lee in 1981. It first appeared outside China in 1982 in Hong Kong. At the time, 120 roll film in black-and-white was the most widely available film in mainland China. The Holga was intended to provide an inexpensive mass-market camera for working-class Chinese in order to record family portraits and events. However, the rapid adoption of the 35mm film format, due to new foreign camera and film imports, virtually eliminated the consumer market for 120 roll film in China. Seeking new markets, the manufacturer sought to distribute the Holga outside mainland China.

Within a few years after the Holga’s introduction to foreign markets, some photographers began using the Holga for its surrealistic, impressionistic scenes for landscape, still life, portrait, and especially street photography. These owners prized the Holga for its lack of precision, light leaks, and inexpensive qualities, which forced the photographer to concentrate on innovation and creative vision in place of increasingly expensive camera technology. In this respect, the Holga became the successor to the Diana and other toy cameras previously used in such work. A Holga photograph by photojournalist David Burnett of former vice-president Al Gore during a 2000 campaign appearance earned a top prize in a 2001 White House News Photographers’ Association Eyes of History award ceremony.

Recently the Holga has experienced renewed consumer interest outside China due to the increasing popularity of toy cameras, and a continuing counterculture response to the increasing complexity of modern cameras.

Modern Japan with Holga 120S

The Modern Japan Gallery

Modern Japan with a Lomo LC-A

Modern Japan with a Lomo LC-A

Modern Japan with a Lomo LC-A

In part I of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Lomo LC-A. The LOMO LC-A (Lomo Kompakt Automat) is a fixed lens, 35 mm film, leaf shutter, zone focus, compact camera introduced in 1984. The design is based on the Cosina CX-2, the main difference being that the lens bezel is fixed (unlike the rotating one of the CX-2). The original LC-A lens was manufactured by LOMO in Russia. This changed in 2007 and lenses on subsequent models have been made in China. Some LC-As were sold badged as Zenith, or Zenit, a trademark of KMZ (Krasnogorsk Mechanical Works).

The only automatic function offered by the LC-A is exposure. All other functions — winding, rewinding, focus — are done manually. Aperture could also be set manually, through a lever system, though exposure is completely automatic when the camera is set to “A”. The shutter speed is fixed at 1⁄60 s and ranges from 2 minutes to 1⁄500 s. The aperture range is f/2.8 to f/16. The automatic exposure system compensates for changes in light levels after the shutter is opened by increasing or decreasing the shutter speed. This, in conjunction with the rear-curtain flash-sync, results in interesting effects with flash photography in low ambient light levels.

The lens is focused by selecting one of four zones (0.8 m, 1.5 m, 3 m or ∞). Setting it to ∞ in low light settings allows for long exposures. When cross-processing slide film, these long exposures can result in extraordinarily strange color effects, one of the reasons the LC-A became such a cult camera.

The Modern Japan Gallery

I Wrote This For You

I Wrote This For You

I Wrote This For You

A Man Walks Into A Bar...

It goes like the joke: A guy walks into a bar in Tokyo, orders a beer and looks around for people, mostly men, fondling, mostly large, black, analog, cameras. Eyes peer up over pint glasses as the man approaches with his own large, black, analog camera and sets it and the beer down with satisfying clunks on the wet, cigarette ash strewn tabletop. He takes off a scarf and a jacket, maybe a hat, shakes some hands, smiles and eyes the people’s cameras he doesn’t know. He is lucky to have gotten a seat–these Friday Night Meetings can get crowded. He sits, smiles and sighs, and fingering the shutter on his camera, takes a long pull from the pint glass. He is thinking of two things: ordering the next pint and whose 503cw Hasselblad with the extension tubes–transforming it from a stealthy jaguar to a jungle panther with x-ray vision–is that next to that frosty half drunk pint of Guinness?

This is how I meet Jon Ellis, fresh off the Fragments of Tokyo exhibition, inconspicuously, over pints at the local pub. I had been coming to these meetings for well over a year and one day he just showed up. A man walks into a bar. A man who likes to walk around Shinjuku taking photos of buildings. A man who is a vegan. This man–it wasn’t until almost a year later, at the same table, that he made an offhand comment about a site he regularly contributed to winning an award, the url of which he would not share. Laughing over a pint, he added nebulously that if I tried hard I might be able to find it. Of course now I see the irony. Please Find This, he was urging me. I might have mentioned sometime the next week that I was able to find it. Or I might not have.

One learns that with Jon, it is not what you say, it is what you do. Meanwhile, what Jon was doing was shooting, all over Tokyo (and beyond), often alone, mostly on outings with his better half, providing a powerful visual accompaniment to Iain Thomas’ simple, sincere words. Once you learn that this site exists, that this sort of thing is going on in some corner of the inter-webs, that someone is taking the time to be honest and beautiful without advertising the hell out of it, it makes the cheap facade of e-commerce fade away and somehow means more that you found out about it naturally. You are hooked. A man walks into a bar. Your life is different. Better. Another round.

Recent Kyoto denizen and Pop Zeitgeist writer Sean Lotman had a chance to sit down with Jon and chat about the forthcoming book from I Wrote This For You. The following conversation flowed nicely over a pint or two.

I Wrote This For You

Sean Lotman: Can you tell us about the project?

Jon Ellis: I Wrote This For You was started in 2007 by Iain Thomas as an experiment in minimal short story writing blog. Each entry consists of short piece of writing and a photograph. As Iain has elucidated elsewhere, the brevity and fragmentary nature of the writing, in combination with imagery, lets the audience read more into the pieces than is necessarily said. It’s impossible to write for everyone, but given a starting point most people can write themselves into the framework of a story.

We’ve always felt that self-promotion risked pulling in a wave of people that would depart as quickly as they arrived. Letting things happen seems to mean that we’ve ended up with a more impassioned, and somehow, meaningful, readership.

Sean: It’s interesting that you and Iain have never met. How then did the project come together in the first place?

Jon: Originally Iain was taking the photographs and doing the writing. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that he isn’t really a photographer…which prompted me to offer to provide the photographs. All of which happened in an IRC chat related to a website that we had both frequented for many years.

It’s interesting that people latch on to the two of us never having met, but it has never really been an issue for either of us. We communicate pretty naturally over chat or mail, and have never really felt that meeting up would push things forward. We’ve had the occasional video chat, but on the whole we’ve been laid back about just putting the entries out there and letting things happen.

Sean: You have hundreds of entries posted on I Wrote This For You. What was the selection process for the book’s final draft?

Jon: There are over a thousand entries, which made selection difficult. Over the years we’ve kept track of entries that have been popular, entries that we personally like. Additionally we’ve asked the reader is there are any entries that they’d especially like to see ‘make the cut’.

In general I'd say that Iain writes what he wants, and similarly I shoot what I want. Click To Tweet

I Wrote This For You

I Wrote This For You Book Cover

Iain also divided up the book into several different sections; Sun, Moon, Stars, Rain. The different chapters, in his words, “chart the different phases of the ways humans relate to each other.”

In the end we still had too much material to include in a reasonably priced book. At which point we surrendered ourselves into the hands of the publishers and asked for help. It was probably the only way for us to move forward at that point–after spending several weeks going through lists of entries, it’s hard to see what’s working and what isn’t. As we’d already got things down to a set that we liked, it was easier to let someone else wield the knife!

Sean: I want to mention an interesting aspect of the collaboration. Until recently, the majority of the photographs came from Japan, where you lived for ten years (Jon has recently moved to Hamburg, Germany). Japan has a very precise locative sense of place. But Iain is striving to speak for the universal language of love and loss, a transnational voice for sure. Yet these distinct points-of-view seem to enhance each other’s power. Do you think the fascination people have with (your photos of) Japan paired with Iain’s text will change now that you’ve moved from an exotic culture with unintelligible Kanji characters everywhere (stores advertising sales for laxatives look like the most beautiful calligraphy to the untrained western eye) to a more recognizable Euro-centric aesthetic?

Jon: Perhaps I’m blind to it, but I don’t actually see that “strong sense of place” come through in the photographs. That said, if people do experience the images as being distinctly “elsewhere” then it plays well into the idea that it gives their imagination extra room to roam.

In a more general sense, for me I Wrote This For You has ended up being a form of photographic notebook. My photography tends to develop through experimentation. There are a lot of dead-ends, angles that never get followed up, themes that I get caught up in for a few months, and the occasional set of images that come together into a project. It’s therefore a struggle for me to see any great patterns, as that isn’t how I’ve approached producing the images.

Sean: On the same note, your photography, in its lines, shapes, and forms, often suggest a very precise way of looking at the world, while the words Iain writes to accompany them are often emotional, suggesting intangible feelings that are messy, confusing and formless. Is this collaboration then a kind of balance of opposing qualities building symmetry?

Jon: Having said that, now I have to backtrack a little! The fascination with geometry is one theme that runs through a lot of my images. It’s certainly true that I got a little obsessive with trying to simplify the geometric confusion of Tokyo. This is somehow balanced (in my head) by another part of me that seems to revel in compounding the confusion to the point of abstracting it a way.

As for the balance in the collaboration, you may have latched onto one of the reasons for it’s enduring popularity. Perhaps the readers find themselves seeing the order in the geometry in opposition to the confusion of the narrative scaffolding of the words. If this is the case it’s certainly not by design!

Sean: It’s often very difficult for artists to collaborate, much less two artists with ostensibly divergent aesthetics. Do you ever request of Iain rewrites of his prose that you think might enhance the photograph or is your relationship mostly “hands off?”

I Wrote This For You

This is my skin. It keeps out the rain and words I'd rather not hear like "I'm tired" or "I'm fine" or "We need to talk." This is my skin and it's thick. This is not your skin. Yet you are still under it.

Jon: Our working style is very much hands off. Mostly we work by me providing a set of images for Iain, who does all the hard work of getting things posted. There are cases where the image will inspire the post, there are times when something that Iain has already written will match up with a particular image, and there are times when the readers are left making the association for themselves.

Over the time of the collaboration I’ve sometimes tried to game the process, by sending images that expressed a distinct situation / emotion. The resultant entry has almost never come out as I expected, which makes me unaccountably happy.

There have been times when I’ve asked Iain to use an image to address certain issues (these are almost always environmental, and specifically related to the state of the oceans…), and there are times when Iain has used the blog as a means of address issues that are important to him.

In general I’d say that Iain writes what he wants, and similarly I shoot what I want.

Sean: The blog that features your work is enviably popular. How did I Wrote This For You become such a phenomenon?

Jon: It has been an entirely organic process. The sub-title of the blog is Please Find This and we’ve tried to make it the case that people do actually find it in as personal way as possible. Any promotion has been done rather quietly (being careful not to intrude too much into the flow of entries) and generally by the readers themselves. A lot of the entries end up being re-blogged / re-tweeted, which provides a fairly regular stream of new readers wondering about the backstory.

Periodically there are guerilla actions, with readers leaving references to the blog on notice board, as bookmarks, on banknotes(!), drinks coasters, or just randomly placed post-its. Conceptually this is all about the readers writing their own narrative.

We’ve always felt that self-promotion risked pulling in a wave of people that would depart as quickly as they arrived. Letting things happen seems to mean that we’ve ended up with a more impassioned, and somehow, meaningful, readership.

Sean: Of course nothing trumps a hard copy of the book, but it seems a nice fit for the tablet-happy reader. Do you expect the book will thrive on reading devices?

Jon: There have been several attempts to get the book published over the years, and for a multitude of reasons it hasn’t, until now, worked out. The main motivation has always been to produce a physical book. Happily we’ve ended up working with a publisher (ireadiwrite) that convinced us that we should move beyond the seeming contradiction of turning a blog into ebook, and therefore there will be a tablet friendly version.

Sean: Pardon the phrasing of the question, but I am from Los Angeles: will there be a sequel or two?

Jon: The next thing that we’d like to get out there is an enhanced version of the ebook. Over the years there have been all sort of interesting side-projects, songs based on entries, user submitted images, videos, etc. There will probably readings of some of the entries. If we can work out the logistics maybe even user submitted readings.

There is certainly enough material to do another book, but we probably need to see how this one does, and go from there. Putting the book together took a fair amount of time and effort, which we both had to steal from our professional and personal lives.

Sean: Is there anything you would like to add regarding the book, your photography, or life in general?

Jon: One of the reasons this project has the longevity that it has is that we’ve never presumed to make it do more than it does: regularly post a short piece of writing and an image. I’m hoping that the book doesn’t really change that dynamic too much.

Photographically and in general I’m working through a transition from the hectic intensity of life in Tokyo, to a more sedate, northern European, existence. It is, of course, not obvious what this will yield, but I’m enjoying finding out.

Alan Dejecacion for HESO Magazine

HESO Photo of the Week from Alan Dejecacion

Alan Dejecacion for HESO Magazine

Rihoko at Yoshi's ©2011 Alan Dejecacion

Alan Dejecacion is an editorial and documentary photographer from San Francisco, California. See more of his images here.

The last year or so I’ve really been enjoying working on street portraits. I always carry a camera whenever I step out and have been fortunate enough to meet some really interesting characters; family is always around so I’ve been documenting them also. Basically looking for trouble, the truth, and a fun time. Thanks very much for dropping by.

-Alan

All images ©2011 Alan Dejecacion

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