This photo was taken at a local cemetery in Siam Reap, Cambodia, armed with my medium format 6×6 square format camera, I was in for a treat. 6×6 square format is my format and lends to its own unique sort of composition. No longer are you restricted to rules of thirds and now the image in front of the photographer will dictate the best composition for framing. The photo just flows on to the frame. There are landscape or portrait options, freeing your mind. Here I was using slide film, knowing that I would be shooting indoors in low contrast environments. The only challenge was fighting camera shake hand-holding a such a large and heavy camera. As with all spontaneous portraits, you need to be quick off the mark and this fully automatic medium format camera was simply made for the job compared to a relatively slower Hasselblad manual camera. If I was using a manual camera I am sure this image would just remain in my memory and never have made it on to film!
Here is something you don’t see everyday, no its not my rare and beautiful cat I am talking about, nor is the hint of my left hand in the frame, its the half-frame Olympus Pen, made back around 1954, this camera was the Japanese’s answer to raising film and developing prices, a roll of 135 format film could take 74 exposures. Its actually quite like a digital camera in the sense that you don’t really care about wasting film because it just goes on and on. This little camera is actually a SLR and functions like one. The lenses are extremely sharp, they need to be for better enlargements from a half-frame. I use these lenses most often now days on my modern micro four third system (M4/3), unlike many other lenses adapted to M4/3 these lenses are small and have a nice fit. 40 years apart and they still make a great pair. No wonder so many people are camera and lens collectors. Combined with the modern extremely fine grain Kodak Ektar 100, you have enough resolution to make good enlargements. By scanning the half-frame into two frames you introduce a new form of creativity, the dual nature of the cat in slightly different positions result in a dynamism that is lacking in a single frame.