August 5th, 2012 browsing by day


Oxford: Large format street photography

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

For the longest time I’ve wanted to be able to do large format street photography but up until now I’ve always found it difficult because of the time required to set up a shot. Most of the people I stop to photograph on the street probably don’t want to have to stand still for a few minutes while I set up a shot so I’ve been searching for a camera that I can hand hold and operate quite fast. My hope was I had found such a camera in the Graflex Speed Graphic which was a favourite among press photographers as far back as the 1920’s but the rangefinder focusing and approximate framing guide never really worked very well for me so my search continued. Once I came across the Graflex Super D which was designed as a large format SLR it looked like my search was over. I’ve wanted one of these cameras for a long time and now I finally have one. It’s a big wooden box with a mirror inside that helps you with focussing and composition and the really nice thing is the image you’re looking at isn’t upside down, it’s just flipped horizontally. My Super D came from New York and dates from the late 1940’s to early 1950’s. It looks like it’s had plenty of use but it still works perfectly. These images were all made in the space of around an hour on my first time using it with 5×4 inch film.

[Tech info:] Graflex Super D camera, 190mm lens and Ilford HP5+ film processed in Ilford DD-X (1+4).

This young lady works at 'Objects of use' on Market street, a lovely shop that is well worth a visit.

I've photographed this fantastic bike a few times but this is the first time I've seen its owner. The girl he was speaking to, just out of frame on the right. said to me 'Oh, so you're the Simply Oxford guy that keeps taking those annoying pictures of pretentious people'. I can't see how my pictures would be annoying. What a strange thing to say.

Brooks saddle, Market street.

I thought I was composing this to be portrait orientation but I was working in a hurry and forgot to rotate the camera back. Ship Street.

Coffee break, Ship street.

This man is an old skool photographer that I bump into from time to time. We usually chat about whatever camera I happen to be carrying. Outside Carfax tower.

Here's a shot I made quite a while ago of the friendly staff at 'Objects of use' on Market street. I struggled a little with the low light.