Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Rolleiflex and Attracting Photographic Subjects

My Rolleiflex 2.8F
Over the holiday break, I've spent a little time with my new Rolleiflex 2.8F, which I purchased a couple of months back from my close friend Charlie. Mine is a Model K7F2 with Zeiss Planar lens, manufactured in 1966.
Charlie, and another good friend, Alain, have recently taken up their twin lens reflex (TLR) Rolleis and done quite a lot of shooting. One of the things that excites them both about Rolleiflex is how warmly people welcome them shooting with them. So many people ask about the cameras, or remember someone who had a camera like that, etc.
I have certainly experienced the same phenomenon. In fact, Charlie and I were in DC over the weekend, when a lady at the table next to ours in a cafe said "Excuse me, I see you have a Rolleiflex." She then went on to tell us that she owns one herself, which she inherited from her brother. By the way, her brother fought in World War II, including Normandy, entering the military at age 14 with a made up birth date. This nice lady asked about our little photography group, which meets once monthly. She's invited to our next meeting, and I'm hoping she'll bring her camera along and let us help her start shooting it again.
In my opinion, this kind of camera recognizing is both blessing and curse. While I certainly enjoy welcoming photographic subjects, sometimes I want to go unnoticed. I find that a small 35mm camera, like a Leica rangefinder, is better for that. The truth is that subject reaction to the two types of cameras is just different. Neither is good or bad; they're just different.
I've written about this in the past, with regard to my Mamiya Universal Press camera. Very few people recognize the MUP, but it's so big, it's not going to go unnoticed. (Click Here) to see some of the "candids" I've taken with the MUP.
I recently found a post on the blog "TLRgraphy" about this automatic receptivity in photographic subjects when you're using a Rolleiflex. (Click Here) to read the post on TLRgraphy.
Anyway, I've now got two rolls of 120 film exposed with my 2.8F, ready to go off for processing at
Hopefully, I'll have a few good images to share with you in a week or so.