Sunday, 26 September 2010

The General Wolfe Memorial

These Landscape photographs were taken near the memorial to General Wolfe, the conqueror of the Plains of Abraham, which is found just outside the famous Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire.

On this particular day I wanted to try out some Adox CHS25 fine art film I had bought and so I took my Mamiya Universal Press as well as a Holga 120N loaded with Shanghai GP3. I had originally intended to photograph Stowe Gardens but unfortunately, these were closed on the day, so I decided to photograph the Wolfe Memorial instead.

The Mamiya Universal Press is a very good, well respected camera with excellent lenses and I bought a variety of filters, tripod etc., and yet for all that, the images I took with my Holga were (in my view) far better than those shot with the Mamiya.

Maybe it's the effects created by the cheap plastic lens that make the Holga shots more interesting - but if that's the case does the toy camera flatter the photographer and make even dull shots more interesting? Is the lens of the Mamiya a more honest reflection of the photographer's skill? It will simply show the image as it really is - no distortion or vignetting to distract the viewer's eye, just the image as it really is.

I do find using a tripod somewhat limiting - the great joy of the the Holga is that it is light and portable. If I see an interesting shot I can shoot it straight away from whatever angle I choose. If I have to use a tripod I find that by the time I have set the camera up exactly as I want it, all the fiddling around has killed my inspiration. That's not to say I never use a tripod but if I see something, I just want to photograph it and move on.

In this case the fact that I could just take the Holga out instantly and shoot, rather than having to put the tripod up, take readings etc., etc., meant that I could concentrate much more on the composition and therefore take more time taking photos which leads to better results.

Those of us who use Holgas and other toy cameras love to say "it's not about the camera, it's about the photographer", but I wonder if that's really true. There are some beautiful images taken with Holgas, Dianas and other "toy" cameras, by much better photographers than me - but there are also plenty of sloppy pictures masquerading as art just because they were taken with a film camera.

Let me know what your views are on this subject.

Click on landscape photography if you want to see the full gallery of pictures I took that day.

No comments: