Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Family summer time in 6×6 format

with 5 comments

Few days before with my family we left for summer vacation to a seaside I’ve bought a “new” camera Mamiya C330, so I was excited to try it out. I never liked the square format, as a student and as a young professional, but I guess it’s because square format was a trade mark of Hasselblad, that I couldn’t afford 🙂

I looked at my bookshelf, thinking who is a master of square format photography. My first pick was Mary Ellen Mark and her book Indian Circus, then I checked The Hasselblad Masters awards. The Hasselblad awards didn’t inspire me (I can do better), but with Mary Ellen Mark I found some good clues how to deal with the square format.

I was thinking… Square is a stable, boring format and to make the image interesting I must brake this stableness with composition. My first rule was to fill the image with the subject all the way to the borders and even across the border. That was the idea for the picture published above and on the left side. OK, I admit, I didn’t discover America, but playing with concepts and aesthetics is inevitably leading us to new “discoveries” as I call personal micro revelations 🙂

Second inspiration was the book On Photography by Susan Sontag. I’ve read it twice, but that was some time ago, so why not follow the Atheism 2.0 commandment to repeat the lessons over and over again. It’s the basis of every religion so it must make sense. While reading Sontag’s words on how photography is surreal, the most appropriate medium for modernistic art, I understood everything. World make sense if viewed through a lens of a camera.

Last but not least, this adventure back to black and white analog photography is bringing good old memories from Prague’s Famu Academy where I earned my BA in photography. I know I’m repeating some lessons from history of photography, but I don’t do it because of the love towards the history, but I’m doing it for the love of photography and to the love to my family. More of my Family Album project you can see on my site is not the end result it’s just warming up! I’m inspired as Apollo 11 rocket!

PS: Under comment leave a link to a site of a photographer who work in an inventive way with a square medium format camera. I want to grasp as much info as I can.

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5 Responses

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  1. Very interesting! I have always loved the square format, and have some difficultys composing in the rectangle format. The square slows me down, I have to “stay” here, in this square. In the rectangle format things kinda happends to fast, it is sometimes too dynamic for me.
    I think it doesn’t have so much to do with the camera, it has more to do with what kind of person you are.
    I do have a Hassie, yes, but I also love my Holga, and trying real hard to get to know my Diana too. For me, the square is the optimal choise. Maybe I’m a “squarish” kind of person, and maybe you are much more dynamic, and that’s why you preferr the rectangle.
    This is very interesting, and I’m so looking forward to see more of your squares! 🙂
    I do like your challenge, good luck!


    27 August, 2012 at 10:28

  2. vav, izjemne fotke (tako kot vedno), prav ponosna sem! 🙂 moram priznati da s kvadratnim formatom še nisem delala in imam občutek, da zna biti kar težko – sploh ker je trend da rinemo v vse bolj ozke formate. tako da so te fotke pravi balzam za uč in dejansko opažam da sem pri tem formatu (tudi kot gledalka/opazovalka) dosti bolj osredotočena na kompozicijo. Zelo zanimivo, veselim se novih fotk! 😉


    28 August, 2012 at 00:58

  3. lovely 6×6…i always liked that format and also the academic film format. never had a 6×6 camera though…maybe i’ll get an old rolleiflex…anyway lovely pictures…your girls look beautiful


    29 August, 2012 at 15:42

  4. Hi
    I love your pictures taken with Mamiya C330.
    Please can you tell me (or e-mail me) if you used different lens?
    Best regards


    16 December, 2018 at 11:39

  5. By recognizing one of your images on Google when looking upon the Mamiya c330 I came to this page, although its an article from 2012 I want to reply. I am testing the Sekor lens 135mm 4.5 especially for making portraits and it works out well with the lens wide open and keeping the distance with object and the background. I also own a the 65mm but it has not inspired me yet to make wide images as the 80mm does an excellent job for overall images. Regarding the Mamiya and its square format, yes!! the answer I found is composition. When I just bought the camera I had the same questions on how to deal with the square format, so searched and found “The art of composition : a simple application of dynamic symmetry
    by Jacobs, Michel”. A book that helped me a lot on how to deal with the Square format. In this book which you can download as pdf I have found many examples on how to with composition in square format, how painters use the square format. Sometimes I just place the object in the middle, you cant go wrong. The only dilemma I have with this camera is that I am unable to make colored images when having a roll of black film loaded, a plus is that we can use a variation of interchangeable lenses. While I am writing this I am listening to Atheism 2.0.”Religion ” Art a reminder to love and what is there to fear and hate” Back to the box with the square format. When I focus quite close I make use of the line that indicates where the top of your resulting photograph will be and I have found that it’s a trustworthy indicator. You need to use a bit more guesswork to judge what you’ll see at the bottom of the photo at least you will not miss the top part of your image.(do not forget to set the camera distance scale to the lens mounted to the camera) I will visit Slovenia in September to follow a workshop in Carbon printing with a known Wetplate collodion artist, maybe you know him 🙂 I will bring the camera and lenses with me, If we meet you can try them out if you are interested, let me know? I am going to bed now, will post some portrait images with the 135mm on Instagram tomorrow.


    19 May, 2019 at 01:43

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