Mar 7, 2009

Carl Zeiss Flektogon 2,8 / 35mm - The first photographs on the 19th February 2009 (Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal)


I start getting kind of worried: it is a little harder everyday to focus my Rollei TLR from the sixties, or even my Hasselblad. I don't like to photograph with glasses on, but if I don't wear them, I can barely see the camera...
I know that it is very normal after a certain age, but I used to see very well and it kind of makes me feel mentally confused.
Besides, I like to compose an image till the edges, and the glasses are not very much helpful at that.

Trying to focus my Exakta Varex IIb is still much worse.
One of these days I remembered that I must have another focusing screen somewhere (yes, in the Exakta you can change them) and I was lucky to find it (I am not that kind of organized soul...).

Et voilà: I could see much better!

So I thought that it was time to finally try my "new" Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm, the one I talked about and showed in my previous posts about photo gear.

(Please, don't bother to tell me that in the meantime we are in the 21th century, and that we can buy auto-focus cameras... I know that! I even use some such things sometimes, but I can't help keeping on loving this old stuff.
Yes, I like to focus myself. Let me have my little joys, please don't take away my jewels...).

Now you probably start understanding why they call it the Macro - Flektogon...

I already posted a similar image in 8x10 inches. Good for you to compare.

It was a nice afternoon, the clouds were rolling across the blue skies and the sun felt good on my aching back. I found it a good idea to dust away my bones and my brain...

So I just packed the Flek and the Exakta, my Gossen light meter, some filters and a couple of Agfapan 100 rolls. I thought about bringing a tripod, but my back pain made me change my mind.

We don't need to walk very far away from home to get to the castle of Montemor. We are lucky, because it is a nice place, so we can have a cheap walk... Well, at least as long as they don't tax our feet...

Remember that old George Harrison / Beatles song "Taxman"?
I believe George won't mind...


Let me tell you how it will be,
There’s one for you, nineteen for me,
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t take it all.
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah yeah, I’m the Taxman.

(If you drive a car car), I’ll tax the street,
(If you try to sit sit), I’ll tax your seat,
(If you get too cold cold), I’ll tax the heat,
(If you take a walk walk), I’ll tax your feet.

‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
Don’t ask me what I want it for
(Ah Ah! Mister Wilson!)
If you don’t want to pay some more
(Ah Ah! Mister Heath!),
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeeeah, I’m the Taxman.

Now my advice for those who die, (Taxman!)
Declare the pennies on your eyes, (Taxman!)
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
And you’re working for no-one but me,

May I be damned! Now I feel like listening to "Revolver"...

I love the Beatles!!!

On most photographs I used a polarizing filter from Nikon with a step up ring. On some other occasions I put on a Rollei yellow filter. I love those filters from Rollei. I think that I never got one stuck.

Although not exactly small, the Flek uses relatively small 49mm filters.

That nice lady trying to come across my photograph on the lower left corner is my girlfriend.

If you watch attentively, you will see one of that auto-everything marvels I just mentioned before around her neck... See that I am well aware of their existence?

I Shot An Arrow To The Sky (Jimmy Reed 1967)

(As it seems, making this post turns my memories into songs)

I believe that the Flektogon must have cursed me on this one: "you just don't do that to an old lens, have you ever heard about flare?".

I can't blame her, and somehow I think that we are going to get along well, both of us, me and my "Fleky" (just got baptized!).

If I only knew a little better how to scan...


Mar 2, 2009

Leica Galerie Wetzlar + Leica Galerie Solms - 1988


In 1988 my long taxi-driver nights were finally a memory from the past: I was working as a photographer at the Kunsthistorisches Institut der Universität Heidelberg (Art History Institut).

The nightmare of driving ten, twelve, fourteen hours each night was over!

No more small-talk drunkards to drive home, no more lonely hours sitting in the dark waiting for a stranger to come in, no more CB radio beeps, no more rushing like mad for my Pfennigs, no more cold, rain and snow...

Saving for my Leicas behind the wheel belonged to the past!

Leica IIIc+Summitar 5cm, Portugal, Espinho (Feb. 1984)

Don't ask me the month because I can't remember, it got lost somewhere in my brain, but I know that in 1988 I managed to get an exhibition in the Leica Galerie in Wetzlar.

For some months I dove in my darkroom making print after print, rejecting this, accepting that, trying to get a cohesive and meaningful selection of images to display.

My self-appointed theme was Iberia, and the photographs needed to be made with a Leica camera. No one imposed that on me, I decided it like that.
So all the images, with the only exception beeing shown above, were shot with Leica M equipment.
For authenticity's sake, I also refused some "nice" photographs that could easily fall in the touristic style of pictures.

I wanted "raw" stuff!

(On FILM of course!!!)

Leica M2+50mm, Portugal, Castelo Rodrigo (Jan. 1984)

You are actually looking at the "vintage" prints that hung on the wall.
As they were too large for my scanner and I didn't want to stitch or scan the negatives, I reprophotographed the original prints with a digital camera. I didn't even use a repro lens, but just a consumer zoom.

Yes, shame on me, but my repro lenses only fit my analog cameras, and that would have been too much trouble for me.

I apologise, I know (and now you know it too) that I could do better...

Leica M2+28mm, España, Santiago de Compostela (Aug.1981)

In those days I had a Belfort 4x5 inches (very similar to Omega) fitted with a Cold Light tube.

That's the enlarger I used to make the prints.
The enlarging lens was a 60mm Rodagon from Rodenstock.
Most prints were made using Ilford Galerie paper developed in Kodak Dektol.
I also used some then new Ilford Multigrade FB to give it a try.
I think that all the prints were made shortly before the exhibition, that is in 1988.
They are mounted in acid free Museumskarton and I cut the matboards myself.

You are watching a lot of work, but I am going to shut my mouth and let you take a look in peace...

Leica M2+28mm, Portugal, Amareleja (Jan.1984)

Leica M2+35mm, Portugal, Coimbra (Aug. 1981)

Leica M2+35mm, España, Salamanca (Aug. 1981)

Leica M2+50mm, Portugal, Lisboa (Aug. 1984)

Leica M2+90mm, España, Toledo (May 1983)

Leica M3+90mm, Portugal, Lisboa (Aug. 1987)

Leica M3, Portugal, Aveiro (Aug. 1987)

Leica M3, Portugal, Mourão (Feb. 1984)

Leica M3+21mm, Portugal, Lisboa (Jul. 1987)

Leica M3+50mm, Portugal, Lisboa (Aug. 1987)

Leica M3+50mm, Portugal, Aveiro (Aug. 1987)

Leica M3+50mm, Portugal, Braga (Aug. 1987)

Leica M3+50mm, Portugal, Braga (Aug. 1987)

Leica M3+90mm, Portugal, Lisboa (Aug. 1987)

Leica M3+90mm, Portugal, Praia de Mira (Aug. 1985)

Leica M3+90mm, Portugal, Amareleja (Jan.1984)

Leica M4-2, España, Segovia (Dez. 1983)

Leica M4-2+35mm, España, El Escorial (Dez. 1983)

Leica M4-2+50mm, Portugal, Nazaré (Sep. 1980)

Leica M4-2+50mm, Portugal, Peniche/Cruz dos Remédios (Mar. 1980)

Leica M4-2+90mm, Portugal, Sesimbra (Feb. 1984)

Leica M4-2+90mm, España, Segovia (Dez. 1983)

Leica M4-2+90mm, Portugal, Fátima (May 1983)

Leica M4-2+135mm, Portugal, Fátima (May 1983)

Leica M4-2+W+35mm, Portugal, Lisboa Jan. 1984)


Now try to figure out how amazed I was, when someone called asking me if I would agree that the photographs would stay for one more month...

They should make the small trip to Solms, to hang on the walls of the new plant (that's when I knew about Solms) that was going to be officially inagurated soon.

Of course, I could only say yes! And it felt so rewarding...

Can you imagine my photographs hanging on the walls in Wetzlar and Solms for two months? Me, the cab driver who had to save his little coins for his Summicrons and Elmarits?
Me, who had to drive endless miles to buy my rolls and my soup (meaning my developer)?

In that little moment in time I understood that somehow all the struggle was worthing it, in that little instant I could see a light shining somewhere down the road...

Maybe it would not shine forever, but it shone then...

The images below are from Solms. It was Tag der offenen Tür (open house), and the public was invited to visit the plant.

I drove to Solms with my friend Jorge Gomes, and we had a very nice and interesting day.

Not only the atmosphere was very relaxed and easy-going, with Bier, Bratwürst und Luftballons, but it also was a very good chance to take a look inside The Sanctuary of 35mm photography.

Had the exhibited images belonged to someone else, I wouldn't have forgotten that day anyway...

We made some pictures for the posterity...

I think it was the only time that I saw the 800mm Telyt! Nice "little" camera attached...

As you see, I didn't lie...

Yes, that was me...

And those were my photographs...

The next generation of Leica users?

That is the poster Leica made for the occasion...

I guess that I can proudly say:"NOT BAD FOR A CAB DRIVER...". Cheers !