This time it’s Damian’s turn from here in Melbourne.
When did you find out about the Xpan?
Can’t quite remember? I think your photos were the first ones that I discovered via Melbourne Silver Mine… I didn’t realise how many options were out there for film cameras early on in my film obsession…
When did you get your Xpan?
26th Feb 2011
What attracted you to the Xpan?
Everything looks good in panoramic format! Mike Lefevre says it is the ultimate “toy” camera… Whilst it doesn’t come with a “toy” level price tag, it does remind me of them. The tool dictates the effect somewhat, like a Holga…
When people ask me why I like shooting in panoramic format. My response has two parts:
- I love the single minded nature of panoramic format. It forces you to make choices about what is critical to your image.
- Everything looks cool in panoramic format… The interesting proportions of the format can make up for considerable weakness in your composition technique. Movies look great in 16:9 format – it is pleasing to the eye. Panoramic format is the same. Point it, get the rangefinder spot lined up, and shoot. It will probably come out looking awesome!
Whilst it is easy to get aesthetically pleasing shots straight away, it is more challenging to master at a high level. The field of vision is very narrow, top to bottom, in landscape format. Composing for the format needs conscious effort – and a clean break from standard frame proportions.
What lenses do you have?
45mm Hasselblad and Fuji badged 90mm
(If you have more than one) Which is your favourite lens? (Any why?)
I use the 90mm more often than most other Xpan photographers. In the past, I have been keen on longer focal lengths for street photography. That has been changing over the last 12 months as I have been spending more time with shorter lengths – 35mm and 21mm predominantly in regular 35mm length equivalents. would now love to have the 30mm lens, but they are just too pricey!
What do you like to take photos of with your Xpan?
I pretty much only do street photography, so the Xpan mostly sees the streets of Melbourne and sometimes the other cities I visit. Long leading lines seem to work pretty well with the XPan, so I am often looking for lanes, rails, and other lines to get into the frame.
What would you like to take photos of with your Xpan?
A St Kilda Premiership party…
What is your favourite film to use in the Xpan?
At the moment I am shooting a lot of Kodak Tmax 400 – the graininess of films like Kodak 400 Tri-X just doesn’t hold any specific appeal for me, so I tend to go with less grainy films. HP5 also ends up in my film fridge quite a bit! On a recommendation from a mate in Hong Kong, I am also trying out the Rollei RPX films at the moment…
What are your three favourite shots that you have taken with your Xpan?
One : I think this was one of the first I was every truly OK with. The leading lines of the lights around Ross’ head works in the format.
Two : Lea with her Polaroid. Being adventurous with composition is a must in panoramic format. The essential elements of this image are the camera, the photo, and the photographer. There is no need to see her face. It draws the focus back to these essential elements. Who would have thought chopping off someone’s head could lead to a great image!
Three : Getting in close and understanding “fitting everything in” is not critical in pano format led to this pretty good image. The best way to learn how to use your Xpan is to watch a lot of movies in widescreen format. Consciously notice just how much the director has to crop, whilst still communicating what is needed.
What is your favourite shot that someone else took with an Xpan?
(MJ- I thought this one was your favourite: http://melbournestreetphotography.com.au/2014/10/17/featured-image-matthew-joseph-panoramarama/)
Which photographers inspire you?
Ho Fan – his use of light and shadows in Hong Kong are a constant reminder that what you are actually photographing is the way light is falling on a subject.
Vivian Maier – the sheer volume of quality work resulting from a lifetime of constant shooting gets me out of bed on the weekends and out with my camera! You can only get better at something by constantly working on it. I am not going to develop a good body of work sitting on the couch watching WWE every saturday!
Ansell Adams – even though I don’t shoot much nature / landscapes, his quest for perfection is a contrast to my “she’ll be right mate” approach. Whenever I am feeling impatient, or rushed, I think of him setting up for those “perfect” shots in Yosemite… and relax again, and wait.
Trent Parke is probably the most influence on me presently, as I have just been to his exhibition in Radelaide. I particularly like his use of edge lighting with a flash, and not avoiding grain in his images.
What other cameras do you like to use?
I love all classic film cameras. Compacts, 35mm, and medium formats are all in my collection. Taking out a different body and lens each weekend can really help keep things fresh!
I also shoot digital – it is simply so convenient… And if I have to have fast autofocus, then it is the only choice!
If Hasselblad made a digital Xpan, would you buy it?
Probably couldn’t afford it, no matter the price!
Where can we see your work?
Umm, I don’t really post much on social or websites anymore, but spend a lot of time sharing my thoughts at www.melbournestreetphotography.com.au
I stopped posting a lot as the social media cycle was affecting my ability to objectively curate my images.
Cheers for that Damo!