My friend Maher was in town a couple of weeks ago and it seemed a perfect opportunity to take my OM-1 out for a spin. I picked this one up on ebay for under 10eur ...I'd had my mind set on finding one ever since I read that the legendary Observer magazine portrait photographer, Jane Brown, used only these... buying them whenever she saw one. So here's a selection from my first roll of film on it...
A couple of shots from my test run with the Kodak Retinette 1A - mine is one of the later models, produced around 1963 (I could be off by a year or two). It's all a bit of guesswork... guess the exposure, guess the focal distance and cross your fingers! On the plus side, the lens is lovely & sharp and the exposure seems to be quite forgiving ... and the wind on lever is on the bottom of the body, which is a nice touch. These shots from the Ste Catherine/Canal area of Brussels.
One of the big stories in Brussels recently has been to do with an unlikely Xmas tree controversy. This year, the Brussels council decided to replace the traditional 10m high pine tree with a minimalist light box sculpture that visitors can climb (proceeds go to the local fire department). Cue outrage - a petition attempting to have the 'tree' hacked down has collected 12,000 signatures and counting ... arguments against the sculpture range from the expected (not traditional enough) to the far fetched (phoney attempt at secularism). I actually think it's fairly impressive and the light show, a play between the tree and the town hall, is really quite beautiful.
This was actually an assignment I gave during a recent private lesson - and I couldn't help testing it out for myself - shoot a very obvious tourist spot (in this case, Mont des Arts) and try to constrain yourself to specific guidelines. I chose to look for squares and colour sequences. It's an interesting challenge as it pushes you to look for something different and creates a series quite easily.
I'm cruising down to the South West of France tomorrow to do the whole Christmas, family, overeating, under exercising, constant state of mild drunkenness thing... should be nice. I'll also be meeting my newest nephew for the first time (the one who waited for me to leave Madrid to be born, so I'm not sure he's quite as keen on meeting me come to think about it...).I won't be blogging while I'm down there but I will be shooting so I'll have a bunch of material for when I get back. I'm also going to post '11 from 2011' to kick off next year - I'm quite looking forward to selecting the best moments. It's been a pretty good year. In the meantime the weather has been pretty mild in Brussels but we did have one evening of proper snow... so that's my xmas card of sorts.
And warm Madrid it is. Visiting Tom, Becs & my little niece Maya who live conveniently close to the airport. I haven't seen Maya since last September so quite a change - she knows loads of words, understands pretty much everything, runs around like she's on a mission, laughs constantly - very lovable. I didn't shoot anything in Madrid yet, so here's one from the am in Brussels.
Not a new shot, something from the archives snapped from the Porte de Hal.
Corner of Rue de Flandre and Rue Léon Lepage
Henri is back from Bali and followed me on my todos, so we stopped by Place Jourdan for a pitta at Papay. Drove to Paris with Nora in the evening, arriving at Laure's place in Créspières (78 - the Yvelines, west of Paris) around 11h30. I grew up in the area so looking forward to tomorrow's daylight so I can survey the surroundings.
I wrote this woman's name down so illegibly that I'm afraid I can't tell you - What I do know is that she buys pretty much everything she wears in China and that she runs the Lune de Miel, one of the most popular Thai restaurants on the strip leading to st Gery, otherwise known as Rue Jules Van Praet. I met her in the Marolles area where she was scouring the second hand shops for stylish coffee spoons.
Second part of Marie Claire 'shopping à BXL' shoot... so lots of shops, pavement pounding and welcome discoveries which I'll most probably mention in the coming days, weeks, months. The idea of the 'shoppings' is also to catch some of the city goings on/vibe so here's one of those shots.