I’m still unclear about the usefulness of groups on Flickr, but there’s a new one I wanted to highlight called Medium Format Street Photography for those of you who attempt such a thing.
Using a med-format camera on the street plays into the previous post about the length of moments. Simply, med-format cameras often require more wrassling time than small rangefinders or digital cameras. Which means it can be tough to capture anything that’s fleeting.
Some med-format cameras have lenses that require you to focus with a different viewfinder than the one with which you’ll compose the frame. Most don’t feature auto-focus, and many aren’t SLRs. You can hear the shutter clang on a Hassleblad from a block away. If you have a twin-lens, it takes time to figure out how to keep everything level. In size, med-format cameras are anything but inconspicuous. Consequently, street candids can be tough.
Using a big camera on the street may force you to take a different kind of picture. The difference between Arbus and Winogrand is one of personality, talent, vision and temperment, but it’s also worth noting how the relative speed of their equipment might have affected their images.
Winogrand was so fast he could freeze anything. He could get inside the inside of a moment and achieve pure stasis. Conversely, Arbus was quick within slowness. Given a conversation and a minute or two, she was just as decisive with her bigger, slower (and heavier) gear.
Thanks to Kevin Bjorke for getting things rolling with the group.