Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Sténopé Rue Cambon


When Karl Lagerfeld died this winter, many photo blogs and web sites noted that he was also a photographer. He continued to produce photographs throughout his career and influenced a lot of modern photography.

Sarah and I have both made on-line purchases from Chanel in the past so we are both on their mailing list. Not long after Lagerfeld's death we each received a copy of the magazine 31 Rue Cambon, probably the last issue he would have been involved with.

When I make a camera where the design on the shutter aligns with the design on the camera body, it takes two copies to accomplish that. Having the two magazines got me to thinking about a camera.

As you might expect from Chanel, the cover and some of the photographs inside are printed on some very nice cover-stock. Not very stiff, but a Populist is fairly solid when folded and glued together with the internal structure and a couple film reels inside.

Then the image of what the camera should look like hit me and it was inevitable after that.



It's a 6x6cm camera, a favorite fashion format. The pinhole is 35mm from the film - rather wide angle. That was determined by how I wanted the design to show up on the box. It's the third medium format camera I've made at this distance because of the constraints of the materials I was making it out of. I've made cameras from Chanel packaging before as well.

Links:  iPhone Box    Supper Club Shorty    Sténopé Chanel No. 5

I always associate hand-crafting with Chanel so I drilled a .26mm pinhole for it, ever so slightly larger than the prescribed optimum.

It's lightproofed on the inside with opaque black photographic tape.

I'm usually not good at taking photographs that follow a theme based on the camera's design. This time, I think I might have been inspired by the tradition of Chanel photography as well as my association of their products with Sarah.

Bath oil in the bathroom window.


The top of the dresser.


A purse spray and several small perfume bottles including the one she bought the first time we were in Paris in the ticketing hall at the Gare de Lyon.


Another purse spray, a purse, and a wallet.


A hand cream egg in the Easter basket.


This hat in Sarah's studio isn't Chanel, but the Camellia is from 31 Rue Cambon.


Then it was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. I had half a roll left in this camera and a half roll left in the Evil Cube. Sarah had a bad experience in the past when I gave her an untested camera for Pinhole Day so she used the tried and trusted Evil Cube with color film. I took the untested Rue Cambon. We each made one insurance shot with the other's camera, just in case. (Both rolls turned out just fine.)

The insurance shot Sarah did with this camera turned out to be her immediate favorite of the day.


I finished the film. I'm usually a sucker for a sunbeam, but this ex-flower got overexposed and it spoiled the composition.


The tulips were just coming up on Pinhole Day.


My big excitement this spring has been the first brand new bike I've had since 1975.


It was the subject for my eventual Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day choice.


The next day was cold and wet but I thought my striped gloves and generally basic black look fit the theme appropriately.


Currently on my kitchen table, in parts waiting to be glued together, is a Little Black Cube. I should have it done in time to test for Sarah to use for WPPD next year.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Neville in town and country

Four and a half years ago we saw an exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston titled The Visitors. When planning this trip we looked up what was on at the ICA. The Visitors was being exhibited again as part of a show of selections from the permanent collection. It was worth another visit.

Instead of driving into the congested Seaport we parked at the Quincy Adams station with it's monumental parking structure. We rode in on the Red Line along with a group of cosplayers fully costumed and painted for an anime gathering.


The ICA is located right on the harbor. The tall ship, Stad Amsterdam was docked just down the quai. It looks like a 19th century clipper but was built as a replica at the turn of the millenium with a modern steel hull.


The piece we had come to see is an oddly mesmerizing hour-long, nine-screen video installation. On each screen are musicians, who are spread around a stately old house overlooking the Hudson River, playing a bluesy tune. You hear each performer through their own speaker so the balance and the environmental sounds change as you walk around. When I first saw it I thought they were repeating the same verse but this time I heard there were several sections including one of my new favorite philosophical quotes: "There are stars exploding around us. There's nothing we can do." For a few minutes Andy was sitting on the only bench in the room with just enough space at the end to set Neville down and open the shutter. You can see three of the screens. At the left is a cellist wearing a plain slip in the hallway at the top of the stairs. In the center, out in the middle of the gallery, is an electric guitarist with leather pants and bare feet, at a desk in a booklined study. On the right is the composer/artist Ragnar Kjartansson playing acoustic guitar soaking in a bathtub.


The fourth floor galleries are cantilevered over the harbor with a glass hallway on the outside.


Lunch was at nearby Gather with a view of the shiny new buildings in the neighborhood of the ICA. Except for the museum itself, this view would have been completely empty when we were here the last time.


They have an unobstructed view of the harbor as well.


It's the kind of a hip, farm-fresh place that serves appetizers in these little galvanized buckets.


I had the salmon tacos. I didn't mean to look so impatient while taking this photograph. With all the giant windows, the exposure wasn't that long.


We walked back to South Station along the Harborwalk.


Then across the Fort Point Channel.


Later that evening, back on the south shore, we visited Stellwagen microbrewery. It's named for the National Marine Sanctuary we had experienced the day before.


The next morning, some maternal counseling on garden planning.


Many references were consulted.


Synchronization between the end of the trip and the end of the roll of film is a difficult problem so I'll have to take you on a bike ride around Oshkosh.

The narrow strip of land between the old highway 110 and the new superhighway 45 has been filled in with a cluster of miniwarehouses.


A fierce looking snapping turtle on it's way over the Wiowash Trail causeway.


Getting flashed by a boat on the Fox from the Highway 41 causeway.


I'll finish with something I never do. When I passed these two I couldn't help asking if it would be OK to photograph them. One was under the focusing cloth of a Calumet 4x5 view camera pointed at the other who was carrying a Bronica 6x6 SLR. Check out the tilt of the front standard. They were very curious about my pinhole camera and what film I was using. They were both loaded with black and white film. The guy with the medium format kept measuring me with a Sekonic meter but he never made an exposure. It took a while for me to get them to go about what they were doing so I could get my photograph.


Neville has a .15mm pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame. Kodacolor 200.

By the way, no one has guessed between Philly and Neville, which one has the Gilder Electron Microscope aperture and which one has the hand-drilled pinhole.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Philly in Massachusets

After our epic road trip last fall, this spring we decided to go visit the kids the easy way and let Southwest Airlines do the driving. Philly was up in the rotation.

At Logan, waiting for Andy and Kristin to get from the cell phone lot to the terminal to pick us up.


Andy making Chicken Kiev.


Eating the Chicken Kiev.


Some tourism the following day.


Pizza in Worchester for lunch.


There was a microbrewery next door.


It was a very nice day. We got a flight and sat outdoors.


Hilly Holy Cross College, Kristin's alma mater.


We got home when the sun was at that low angle that all the photography books tell you to look for.


They have a giant back yard, a fenced in garden and solar panels on the roof. Last month their electric bill was minus $56.


It also came with lots of bulbs and perennials.


The view east.


Jeremy is extraordinarily happy about living there.


The low sun also works through the windows in the kitchen.


Sunbeams streaming through the colander.


The next day we went to Plymouth to go on a whale watching cruise. The weather was not so nice. Low 40's and raining when we set off. High winds and big swells out on Cape Cod Bay. Not a pleasure cruise but we did see a fin whale and bunch of humpbacks quite close up.


Pinhole photography with a cardboard camera is not well suited to a rolling, pitching boat with the occasional wave breaking over the deck. As we approached the shore,  I got outside to catch this guy posing on the bow.


Philly has a .15mm pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame.

Next, Neville goes to the city.