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Nettar Zeiss

Every picture I take is a wish not a capture of reality.

Let me share two pictures with you as an example.

This is my father. The first picture was taken with the digital Canon 5D and the cheap 50mm/f1.8 and yes… I’m going to say it… straight out of the camera!

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Okay… it’s a pretty nice picture, the day was kind of cloudy, the camera did a good job, maybe a bit on the underexposed side. My fault but I was not aiming for an artistic capture, just a casual snap.

This is the second picture.

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My father holding a baby rabbit. It was taken with the Contax 645AF. It was a sunny day and we were in the shade. The camera did a great job and, again, I was not aiming for an artistic picture, just another casual snap.

When I look at both I feel the Contax one more appealing as a “photograph”. The digital one only has sentimental value, the second one has both sentimental and photographic value. Why?

I can imagine having the Contax picture hanging on a wall and the digital one kept in a family album. Why?

When it comes to photography both were made carelessly, both were made for that family album however, one looks so much more special.

Is it the lens? The “famous” bokeh? Is is the light? Does my father look better? Is it a better angle? Is it the rabbit?

Is it the simple fact that being in black and white adds an extra layer of seriousness?

Even my father likes the Contax one better. Why?

Well, reality is boring and the black and white image is the further from reality and that’s why I like it better as a photograph.

Let me give you another example. This is my son.

The first shot was taken with the (sweet) Ricoh GrD3. The second one was taken with the Zeiss Ikon Nettar.

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Again. Which picture do I like the best?

As photographs they should have the same visual value but they don’t, why?

Why do I keep on liking the ones further from reality?

Why do I feel that my pictures do look better in black and white? One is as good or as bad as the other.

The truth is, my pictures do look better in black and white and that’s why I don’t use digital cameras to capture these personal moments or other kind of personal images I make.

Reality is too… raw. Too real, too accurate. I don’t like it. I aim to capture it in many ways but only as the raw material to work on.

Every picture I take is a wish not a capture of reality.

At the end of the day, when developing and scanning (or printing the negatives) my black and white pictures are a pretty good hiding place for my lack of inspiration and talent but, at the same time, it is my black and white photography that comes closer to the visual approach I like when it comes to image making.

As usual, please forgive my limited English.

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Every time I go out with a friend for a photo session the last of my concerns is the amount of “good” photographs I will get from that session.

I only ask the Gods of Photography for one. Just one decent shot and I am a happy man.

Okay, that’s my mind set but how about the model’s thoughts on this?

The question I hear the most is: You toke about 4 rolls of film and are you saying that this shot, or couple of shots, are it?

Well… most of the times, yes, that’s it.

Let’s face it, it’s not hard to take a decent shot of a beautiful woman, but it’s very hard to take one that we feel it stands apart from all others.

When I say “the shot that stands apart”, I’m saying it in a total selfish way. It is “the one” for me, the one that makes ME happy. It can be a crappy shot for everyone else, including the model, but it is MY favorite shot and I fell happy when I think I got it.

Of course I want my friends to like them all, I want them to enjoy the day, enjoy us being together, to enjoy the session and yes, I want them to look at the results with a smile of satisfaction for a day well spent.

That’s why I only do it with friends.
(Friends are also much more forgiving and they usually lie about my skills, which is very cool)

Seriously, when I’m with a friend, photography means very little.

I know Carolina for about 20 years. We played in the same band, back in the days. She was the lead singer and I was one of the guitar players. We used to play Risk, the strategy game, with a group of friends, until the break of dawn every single Saturday night. We both have kids about the same age…

Having the chance of spending a whole day with Carolina, and the kids, renewing our friendship is far more important than any “special” shot however, my poor shots are also my way of saying… thank you.

As usual, please forgive the rough English.

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Gear:
Nettar Zeiss

Recipe:
Ilford FP4+
Ilfosol 3

1+9
6 min
20 C
Agitation: first 10 seconds of each minute.

I love the little Nettar. What an amazing 6×6 folding camera!
I got mine for about 10 euros. Of course I’m aware of all the limitations but every time I look at the pictures, they seem from another time. Missing focus is my main problem with the Nettar. Not being able to focus directly is a big problem for me, however, even the out of focus images have this… amazing and magical feel to them.
Talking to some friends I realized how much I miss taking the Nettar with me every morning. Just for fun, just for the pleasure of taking pictures…

Please forgive my poor English