Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Week of 08 19 13: Serious Toys

Location: Near 3rd and Girard
Image Size: 6 x 9” @150 dpi
Camera: Superheadz Blue Ribbon
Lens:  Super Fat 22mm plastic doublet
Film: Kodak Ultramax 400
Exposure: Approx. f8 @ 1/125
Develop and Scan: PhotoLounge
Conversion to black and white and adjustments in Photoshop

As more and more neighborhoods become gentrified (including my own), I’m finding I have to travel farther afield to find things to feed my eyes. The decaying ruin, the accidental, the rebellious, and the out-of-kilter generally are banished with alacrity where everything is polished to look new, wealthy and manicured.  As in this case, one need only hit the ragged fringes of an area to find something interesting. In less than a decade, much of Northern Liberties has gone from being old and odd to built-up and rather dull. It’s no wonder that photographers often trek to poorer countries where the texture of the human soul lives closer to the hardscrabble surface of the physical environment.

Granting myself permission to shoot with a simple, fixed focus camera is a great way to break the routine and feel lighter. The Blue Ribbon, an all plastic tool which is a deep cerulean blue, is technically a toy camera much like those sold by the Lomography people except its design and build does not create funky chance effects, aspects the serious Lomographer seems to crave. There is some distortion from the ultra-wide angle and a tiny bit of edge fall-off, but the lens is surprisingly sharp and non-poetic, so the camera goes for a paltry $20 on sale. It is lightly built but should hold for many rolls if not abused. The Ultramax  400 film used here is a mere $2.09 for a twenty-four shot roll from B&H Photo. The film color is a bit hyper-saturated for my taste but converts to black and white with no problem, the grain is quite fine and the sharpness is excellent

The camera is available at the link below:

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