with the constant fluctuation of prices on older film cameras, a camera you had your eye on for $500 last year could be selling for $1200 this year. sort of funny (and frustrating) how that works. last year i had my eye on a mamiya rz67, that was without a doubt on my radar because of william verbeeck, but when the time finally came around to commit to a larger medium format camera the prices spiked a little too high for me to pull the trigger. i started looking into other 6×7 modular camera systems that checked off most of my wants for a medium format camera that i’ve planned to primarily use for tripod-supported portraits and long-exposure shots.
so, onto my checklist:
a little less hyped, and hopefully a little less expensive
a nice lens for portraits – the 100mm 3,5
an affordable lineup of other lenses
somewhatcompact and not super heavy
allowed for a shutter release cable for long exposures
had some multi-second shutter speeds available for quick night shots – the gs-1 goes up to 16 seconds on the dial
being honest, the bronica gs-1 was not even a system i was familiar with. i started my research, and posed the question “you know any good 6×7 systems that aren’t as expensive as an rz67 but just as good?” to my good internet homie austin. right away, he suggested i look into the gs-1 system as a very viable option that was a fraction of the cost, and had everything i was looking for. i was familiar with some of the other 6×4.5 bronica systems and loved some of the results that my friend gabe got with his sq-a on our trip to iceland. i found it hard to find a lot of information/videos/reviews of the gs-1 system – especially by the sort of new-age analog photographer that wears brands like noah, beat up air force ones, and a north face purple label gore-tex parka. come on, we all know the type. a lot of these dudes have really honed in on analog photography and i do enjoy a lot of the video’s they’re creating. i’ll be honest, i was bummed that i couldn’t find a video like that about the gs-1.
so next thing i know i’m checking ebay and found a gs-1 kit that was meticulously rated and tested by a small camera shop in toyota, japan. everything was in working order, and i was sold. it was cheap enough to break even if i decided it wasn’t for me (but i love it already). i’ve put 5 rolls through it in about a week, and so far i’ve had two of them developed and scanned. my daughter and i drove around brooksville aimlessly and checked out a few spots that i haven’t photographed in close to ten years, so here the results.
these images were captured on kodak ektar 100, shot and metered at box speed on a bronica gs-1 with the zenzanon pg 100mm 3,5.
first off, looking back at some of these photographs really makes me realize that we go to bodega maybe a little too much. hopefully soon your rice & beans only diet will evolve a little bit. oh well, i’ll still love you either way. i always found it a bit sad that i never had any letters from my dad, to go back and read after he was gone. it took me til you were four years old to feel like this was something i wanted to do. unfortunately, he didn’t get that long with me so i won’t hold it against him. i want nothing more than to live as long as possible so i can continue to be your dad, and watch you continue to grow into the human i know you will. but in the event my time runs out, i want you to have these pictures and these words so you never forget how much i love you.
i hope by the time you read this, that things are much different. right now it seems like no one lives their lives for themselves, but rather to make themselves look like their life is just super-fucking-awesome, like all the time. i hope that by now you know, life isn’t always super-fucking-awesome. it gets tough, tiring, overwhelming. without a doubt, at times you will feel defeated, and that’s okay. surround yourself with people that love you, and they will build you back up. it is the people like this, that make your life awesome. the long term friends who know a side of you that i won’t ever be able to know (that’s also okay). so please take a lot of pictures to remember these people, and to catalog your lives together. don’t take pictures to make other people feel left out, or to try and prove how great your life is. i’ve found that our own happiness is better kept a secret. i hope that you’ll look through the photographs of my life and feel how great of a journey it has been. what an honor it’s been to just exist. from being your dad, to visiting amazing places with my friends, and just simply capturing my every day. this is what photography is for.
put a roll of provia 100f through my fuji ga645zi, and one of the first rolls developed at home (in fucked up chemicals that got mixed wrong). so there is a lot more forgiveness in the development process than i thought! most of the roll is from wandering around a ‘pull a part’ junk yard. some old transit busses and nice colors for slide film. the medium format slides look so rad in person. i spend more time than i’ll admit looking at them all on a light board. so now i have to figure out how to get out of this “i only want to shoot slide film” phase that i’m in. peace.
my film advance has been acting weird lately, so i only got thirteen shots on this roll. anyways, this is fresh fuji 160ns shot through my fuji ga645zi over the course of a day spent with my best friend in the back country of florida. towards sunset, we ended up at the citrus county speedway for some real florida man style racing, and it was a pretty fucking awesome. a guy there even told us that “shit is much more simple here” and i’m not mad at that.
a thirty year expired roll of velvia 50 shot over the course of two months and processed/scanned by the darkroom. it was a weird time for me, and i struggled to find inspiration to take photos with my brain preoccupied with my own shit. people come and go and this for me is a reminder of that. when i look at each of them i remember where i was at in my own head, so in this case i don’t really feel like i was trying to capture anything but my own feelings. sixteen images from this roll of 220 are up in physical form at cafe hey. thanks for looking.
ps: i listened to this album on repeat for pretty much a month straight. it’s phenomenal and helped me through it.
trying to play catch up and get some of these photos somewhere other than in my dresser drawer. just some medium format shots (with my apparent affinity for telephone poles) from the last few months. from tampa/dade city/sarasota/st. petersburg/brooksville.
last night was the first run of developing at home in my bath tub, with some guidance from dylan. everything was scanned in at 1:27-2:03AM. i really should sleep more. some weird tones that make me feel like i did something wrong, and i’m still trying to figure out what. gotta start somewhere.