Five years ago, we walked all of Geary Street in San Francisco. Yesterday, we did it again. Market Street, the Tenderloin, Western Addition, Japantown, and out through the Richmond District. This time we used a GPS app, and logged the trip as 8 miles, including the walk down the beach to get on the N Judah for the return trip downtown.
Urban walking is hip. This is how we’d look if we lived in Portland.
Have your cake and your enoki, too.
Eggs so sublime, bacon that’s a kick in the eye.
This is a dangerous place.
The exotic cars.
They didn’t say anything about boxers with dogs on them.
Cha fixed my old TV set.
I’m at the market across from the U2 Beauty Center.
I’d like to try moxibustion before I die.
A few blocks ago, 5 years ago. Do pictures save the world?
If I press the bell, will Jackie Chan answer the door?
Out in the avenues, things started to get jumbled up.
I was hungry.
I started seeing things.
The lions will protect me.
I will drive my Toyota Corona 4×4 to the end of Geary Street.
The gallery owner told us there were many layers of meaning. This picture is about class war.
When something tickles my eye, I take a picture. Meaning is assigned later.
Covered vehicles represent mysteries. A futile attempt to fight entropy. A false sense of security. Did you notice the German Shepherd on the porch?
Is this covered car photo more idyllic than the last two? Can an apartment complex be idyllic? If I say the words apartment complex again, does that help you feel anything?
When you’re taking a photo of a pet hospital with the address numbers 666 and red shopping carts go by in a truck in the foreground what does that mean?
Even a simple one-liner can have layers of meaning applied. This large ad is on the side of a beauty supply store.
A lowered classic Lincoln in front of a car repair shop. Is it just a cool car, or can you find other signifiers?
Covered car pictures make me think of Robert Frank. And didn’t he say that no photos have meaning anymore? Or was that Baudrillard?
But surely there’s something going on in this photo of a stroller on the roof of a car with a broken window across the street from a U-Haul facility?
In an instant, you’ve intuitively understood that this lamp painted like a mushroom is playing on the idea of man vs. nature.
Or maybe it’s about video games. Or some sort of Lewis Carroll reference.
Guardian lions date back to the Han dynasty, even if the door is from Home Depot.
A color photo of a Bowie album printed on a postcard for an art show and then held in front of a 70′s black and white photo of a Chinese-American holding the same Bowie album. Half of the resulting photo is desaturated to add another layer of meaning.
The gallery owner said San Francisco’s Chinatown is fake because it was designed by an American architect.
We went looking for answers at the Buddha Lounge.
When most people look at this picture, what do they see? Is there a subconscious understanding of a deeper meaning that could be drawn out with the right caption, or are they just cakes?
If this photo was taken by someone famous in the 70′s on color film and the printed with a special process and put in a museum where someone said it was important would that change how you felt about it? What if I just posted it to Flickr from my phone instead?
If I told you the chair was on the border of Chinatown and a wealthy white neighborhood, and I tilted the frame, would the photo have a different meaning?
After Frank, after Eggleston, what can any of us do in the Internet age to make a layered, meaningful picture.
Maybe layered meanings are only for academia and museums. For the masses, photography is now predominantly about social currency. I mourn this transformation by showing you a photo of discarded bbq coals in the street.
Six side-by-side photos compare a photo taken with an iPhone 4 using the Hipstamatic app with a photo shot with a 1950′s Franka Solida III medium format folding film camera. Much like last year’s experiments with a Holga, I prefer the film images.
The certo6.com site has a lot of great information on vintage folding cameras. The Franka is compact, works perfectly, and looks beautiful — not bad for a 50+ year old camera. The best part is Jurgen from certo6.com does a full CLA on each camera before selling them on eBay.
The downside of shooting film is the cost — a roll of 120 plus developing ends up being $12 — $1 per shot. And then of course you need to scan the film. If you want to make prints, the extra hassle is worth it. Film has a lot more dynamic range than the iPhone. And the 5 megapixel iPhone 4 or 8 megapixel iPhone 4s can’t compare to the resolution of scanned 6×6 film. Even on my old Epson 4990 flatbed scanner at the 2400ppi setting I get a 25 megapixel file from my Franka negatives. Big enough to print a 16″ square image at 300 dpi, which is a nice size for these images.
Last month I received a wonderful birthday gift — a 1950′s Franka Solida III medium format folding camera. The camera shoots 6×6 images on 120 film. The Franka features a very sharp 80mm Schneider f/2.9 [sic] Radionar lens. For this first roll I shot Kodak E100VS slide film and then cross processed in C-41 negative chemistry. This roll of film was in another camera and then got pulled out and used in the Franka. Due to these shenanigans the roll wasn’t wound tightly and light leaks are visible on the edges of some images.
The Franka is really fun to use. Here’s the shooting process:
Open the case if you’re using it.
Press the button on the bottom of the camera to release the lens. Unlike many folding cameras of this vintage, the lens opens from the side.
Use the rangefinder to figure out the focusing distance.
The rangefinder is not coupled to the lens, so next you focus the lens.
Set the aperture and shutter speed.
Cock the shutter
Press the shutter release.
Once you get the hang of it, this isn’t a lot of work. The camera is very compact when folded up, and was only about $200. The eBay seller Certo6 has a very informative vintage folding cameras website. The shutter on my Franka seems spot on, the lens is very clean, and everything works really smoothly. I’m looking forward to more shooting with this beautiful little classic.
Time-lapse technical details:
The images were shot with a GoPro HD camera set to record a photo every 2 seconds.
The results were imported into Lightroom 3, developed, cropped to 16:9, and settings synchronized.
Next I made a collection in Lightroom with the time-lapse images and the film scans from my first roll.
Using Lightroom’s slideshow module, I set each image to appear for 0.3 seconds.
In order to show the film scans and a few key frames for longer than 0.3 seconds I made virtual copies of those images.
I tried exporting the slideshow from Lightroom but the pacing seemed a lot different than the preview I was seeing from within Lightroom. I used ScreenFlow screen capture software to record the preview, add the end titles, and upload the 720p video to YouTube.