This is what I was thinking… “Golly, that 5×7 camera is going for a good price. Anyway, I can always sell the lens (who am I kidding… I’m not going to sell the lens) and make some of my money back. Who cares that I’ve never shot 5×7 and don’t know if I would even like the format.”

So now I have this 5×7 Linhof Technika.

My Linhof Technika 5x7, Lars Bunch
My Linhof Technika 5×7, Lars Bunch

The thing is a boat anchor. It makes my 4×5 Technikas come off as small and dainty. But it fits with my philosophy that the only cameras that you should buy are ones you can use to fend off an attacker and still be able to continue taking photographs with afterwards.

But now I’m stuck at home with this whole quarantine lockdown thing.

I’m an urban-landscape, found-composition kind of photographer. I don’t do still life photography. I don’t dump a pile of onions on a table and add a vase to call it art. But the virus is dictating my self-expression so here I am shooting a pile of onions.

5×7 is the smallest of the large formats where a contact print is an acceptable display size. No enlargement needed and you’ve got yourself a print suitable for framing and nailing to the wall. It also fits another of my philosophies; that anything worth doing is worth over complicating. Now I regularly spend 20 minutes in complete darkness shuffling film that feels like a fish struggling to escape my grasp.

All of these images are shot on Freestyle Photo’s house-brand Arista EDU Ultra 100 — rebranded Fomapan 100 Classic. I rate it at EI 200 and develop it in Rodinal 1:50 for 8.5 minutes. This improves the contrast and also gives me an extra minute and a half in total darkness to contemplate my questionable life choices.

The lens I used was a Nikkor-W 240mm (Copal #3 shutter). This nice thing about this shutter is that it can double as a spare wheel for a small car. The lens is a bit longer than normal for 5×7 which suits these still lifes nicely.

Instead of using the usual 5×7 film holders, I acquired glass plate holders with metal sheaths to allow me to load film. This creates a more complex, and to my eye, more interesting rebate border.

I like exploring what an image can be. I’ve shot in many formats and processes, but most of what I’ve done in the past three months has been 5×7 or 8×10 film. It limits my choices and enforces a methodical quality to how I compose the image.

I’ve still made plenty of lousy photographs, but I keep learning.

~ Lars

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About the author

Avatar - Lars Bunch

Lars Jagatai Bunch

Lars Jagatai Bunch is a photographer and motion graphics artist in Los Angeles. He has more cameras than any person should have, ranging from a 16mm spy camera to 8x10 view cameras. And he's got some lenses that cover 11x14 so...

, and please make sure you also check out their website here.

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  1. I’m disappointed… as a collector and researcher in to images of the cultivated species of the genus Allium, I was teased and left wanting….. where are the onions?

    Also, have you considered perhaps that some of your plates and glasses might be in need of replacement?

    1. I understand your pain. Unfortunately the onions were shot with some lens other than the Nikkor 240mm and so didn’t make the cut. My apologies for teasing some onionography and failing to deliver. (There is a bag of onions on my instagram feed however)

      As for the need to replace some of my dishware, I will agree, it is a bit of an issue around here. I’m clumsy easily distracted. I try to make the best of it by taking photographs of the imperfections (of which there are many) in my life.

    1. Thank you. The images were split-grade printed on Ilford fiber base, multigrade paper and scanned from contact prints on a flatbed scanner. I made minor adjustments in Photoshop to correct the scan to more accurately look like the original print.

  2. Nice work there! I took a 5×7 camera hiking a couple of weeks ago (borrowed from the kind people at Magnolia Film Lab). Funnily enough the holders were also for glass plates – I was planning to modify them to be like yours, so it’s nice to see it works.

    Do you know if glass plates popular for an unusually long time on 5×7? The camera I’ve got has a maker’s plate claiming 1974 (in Russian) and the wooden plate holders clearly match.

  3. Impressive images. I love the format, which motivates me to pull out my Graflex. Thanks for sharing.