May 10, 2009

Studio Work (Sheet and roll film)


Some people have the rather erroneous idea, that the life of a professional photographer has a lot to do with easy-living and glamour.

While some certainly achieve such a wonderful status, I guess that the vast majority gets to know very little or no bright life at all.

Antonioni's "Blow Up" is a faraway mirage, continuously vanishing a little further away from our dreams and expectations. The girls just don't show up for a private dance, and very few of us drive Rolls-Royce convertibles...

Instead, we have every month to deal with our taxes and our costs, as any other business.

Crisis can take away all our wish to laugh and dance...

Beeing in a dark studio for endless hours, trying to make some ordinary objects turn to gold, can be a very frustrating and boring activity: "A little more light here, a little less light over there, a reflector here, that flash head a little further away, now that bottle just a little bit to the left, that shadow is too dark, the reflection is too strong", and so on and so on...

A shot looking simple and straightforward can take an eternity.
When you finally go back home you suddenly understand that it is long past midnight...

Sinar F2 + Horseman 6x12 back

Sinar F2 or Gandolfi Variant + Horseman 6x12 back

Gandolfi Precision 8x10 inches + 5x7 inches reducing back

Gandolfi Precision 8x10 inches

Gandolfi Precision 8x10 inches + 5x7 inches reducing back

Of course, if the products look good, you can have a lot more fun, even if the shots are relatively straight and simple.

Beeing a hi-fi and music fan myself, I did really enjoy doing these images.
Somebody made a review about the equipment for a magazine article, and I did the shooting. As I usually didn't get a lay out, I had the freedom to do as I pleased.

Nice, although the costs had to be kept to a minimum...

(You seldom can have the whole fun...).

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

Gandolfi Precision 8x10 inches + 5x7 inches reducing back

Watches can be something very challenging to photograph in 5x7 inches...

You really need a long bellows draw to be able to fill the frame with an interesting image.

Reflections can get you into serious trouble and you really have to master your lighting.

It is kind of funny to have a little watch facing a really big camera, surrounded by lots of lights...

You got to keep cool, or you quickly mess it up...

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

Now, glass can be rather tricky too.

It reflects your lights, your camera, your whole paraphernalia and yourself.
Maybe worst of all, it also reflects the dark corners of the studio.

In the examples above, and in the case of the "floating" watch, the background was also made with light.

Please keep in mind that all these photographs were shot with analogic gear, and that what you see is what the transparencies show.

All these images are not manipulated (except for some minor corrections like dust spoting, etc).

Basically, you see what I got in camera.

Gandolfi Precision 8x10 inches + 5x7 inches reducing back

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

The perfume bottle above and the two cameras below, were not shot on assignment. I just made them for myself. On the photograph above, I was experimenting with colored light to produce a background.

Sinar F2 4x5 inches

No, it is not a Leica, and the lens is not a Leitz Elmar!

It is just a fake Leica made by the russians, probably a FED or a Zorki I.

On the top plate a swastica is also engraved with the word "Bildberichter" (photo reporter).

Looks nice, but the shutter doesn't work...

Gandolf Precision 8x10 inches

My lovely Rolleiflex 3.5 F, that you should already know by now.
It graces my profile, and you also can see her around my neck in the portrait I posted some time ago.

Now you can watch her in all her beauty...

The images on this post were shot in my former studio in Lisbon, using flash equipment from Hensel Studiotechnik, Würzburg, Germany.

My cameras were equiped with Schneider and Rodenstock optics.

Light meters/Flash meters from Sekonic and Gossen.



  1. Thank you for yet another inspiring and interesting post, Rui. It's been too long!

  2. Thank you, my faithful reader.

    I am glad that you enjoy it!

    As a matter of fact, I am somewhat frustrated lately, and I don't feel so much like posting...

    I will try a little harder.

    Thank you for your kind support!



  3. Hi Rui :-)

    Take your time - but not too long :-p
    I have been so bogged down by office work lately, so I keep my posts simple. I think one of these days I'll just pass out flat!

    I like reading your posts, Rui, they have substance, and your style of writing is charming (yes, thats the word!)

    I hope your frustration fades away soon........


  4. Hello Esther,
    Nice to see you around again.
    Sorry that you have nothing new to see...
    Let me confess that my limitations in english language make it a little hard to write.
    Sometimes it comes out naturally, but other times it is a pain...
    In my mind, I also very often mix it up with german. So I have to be careful not to make mistakes.
    I also find it very boring to say things the same way all the time...
    Well, in the end the images are more important.
    Peace for you too (I could need some peace of mind).
    Have a nice day,

  5. linda esta rolleiflex! :) e pelo pouco que sei de MF, face à 500 c/m acho que ainda tem a vantagem de ter fotómetro ;)
    fiquei admiradíssimo quanto um amigo meu outro dia comprou uma por 200 e tal euros, e em muito bom estado. Curioso, agora me lembro que comprou tambem um fotómetro externo, nao sei se a rolleiflex nao tinha fotómetro ou se estava avariado.