We’ve just arrived in Tokushima, a mid-sized city on the eastern tip of Shikoku, the smallest and least populated of Japan’s four major islands. This will be our jumping-off point for our on-again, off-again long-distance Buddhist pilgrimage walk around the island. (More about that as our journey progresses.)
There can be no doubt, my Cirkut No. 6 Outfit draws attention wherever it goes. It is a beautiful thing to behold, this wood and brass camera perched atop its spindly wood tripod. And to witness it in motion, engine purring as the camera slowly rotates, is a mesmerizing experience. I see its effect on bystanders as I demonstrate its workings. I watch the giddiness of people, arranged in an arc around the camera, each waiting for the lens to swing around, to briefly point at them and capture their likeness as it continues its sweep across the group. It draws press attention too. The camera has appeared, along with me, in several newspaper articles. CBC television took notice as well, producing a lengthy documentary about my work with the Cirkut camera that was seen across Canada! (more…)
A small format camera is the photographer’s sketchbook, the place where ideas can be quickly explored before paint is applied to that big, forever canvas of the final print. Over two decades, my coterie of Nikon cameras and lenses ably served as my sketchbooks.
It’s an object of beauty. Built for desire as much as for function. It was the more portable view camera that I needed in 1983. But so beautiful as well.
Wista 4” x 5” Field cameras are hand-built in Japan. The camera bodies are constructed of rosewood or, like mine, cherrywood with intricate tongue-and-groove joinery, all finished with a clear lacquer to preserve the beauty of the wood. The hardware is all brass plate or finely machined solid brass knobs. The black bellows and brown carrying handle add accents of leather. This camera exudes craftsmanship in every detail.
Yes, it has a carrying handle. The Wista folds neatly into a relatively light, compact package that can easily fit into a mid-sized shoulder bag. This is a camera built for the prairies, built for backpacking, built for travel. (more…)
It’s a cool, calm Sunday afternoon. The urge is there. Time for a brisk walk. I head out, towards the river.
But not before downloading my musical accompaniment, Meredith Monk’s Facing North. This is no random choice. I will be attending a Meredith Monk concert this evening, part of Winnipeg’s New Music Festival. I have only a vague awareness of her work. Here is a chance to acquaint myself more. (more…)
Konica introduced the Autoreflex T in 1968, the company’s first fully automatic 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) camera with through-the-lens (TTL) metering. The camera is built like a tank and, when the shutter-release button is pushed, it sounds like one. Its heft might suggest it was carved out of a solid block of steel.
The camera came with a 52mm f/1.8 Hexanon lens, those days considered a not-too-wide, not-too-telephoto good standard focal length. Its all-metal barrel gave it a weight and sense of durability to match the camera body. The bayonet mount, introduced with the Autoreflex T, allowed for quick lens changes. Indeed, my kit soon filled out with 135mm telephoto and 28mm wide angle lenses.
Around 1973, I acquired the just-introduced Konica Autoreflex T3, an updated version of my first camera. The Autoreflex T was relegated to use as a back-up body or loaded with a different film. With two camera bodies, either switching film speeds or film type during a shoot simply required a quick change of lens from one body to the other.
This photography kit would be by my side through the bulk of the 1970s. My understanding of photography would evolve over that period, alongside my design education at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture. (more…)