The following five frames were taken on a typical summer night in Rome, in early June 2019, where I had moved to in the spring to spend a semester abroad and work in the Italian galleries.
Back then, I could already reflect on a long career as a photographer if you consider my young age. In fact, I started to take photos when I was about five years old, with my father giving me my first camera, which was a Nikon FG – a small, but stable and reliable tool. You may understand my joy when this camera, after years of me assuming it to be lost during one of my family’s many moves, resurfaced in an old box that had been resting in the basement.
Even though I use both analogue and digital cameras, and by now have amassed quite a huge collection from different systems (mainly Nikon, Leica, Fuji and Hasselblad), I always come back to the FG, which, aside from its convenient size, I’ve always liked for its considerably silent shutter, making it a great instrument for street photography.
The photos presented here were taken on a night out with my Italian friends: We had been hanging around our favourite bar in the Roman neighbourhood of Trastevere, and I deemed it a great opportunity to give a try to pushed T-Max film.
You can clearly see the grain in these pictures, and unfortunately, you can also see that while using my new developer box for the first time, I left some scratches on the negatives, but being a huge fan of Robert Frank’s Street Photography, I still like the style of these pictures:
They are a bit shaky, slightly out of focus and clearly don’t follow any aesthetic rules, but in my opinion they do quite a good job capturing the feeling of that night. I didn’t think that way when I saw them for the first time. It was only after they had been resting in my archives for a few weeks, I gave them a second look and saw something else in them. Above all, this clearly made me think that wherever in your photographic career you are, you should never stop looking at and re-discovering your own work.
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The fg was my first Nikon . It came with a Kiron 28-105 f/3.2 lens and a Nikon flash . May have been hot (just sayin) I was fresh out of the Marine Corps and my Mamyia msx1000 had been conveniently borrowed forever by my Sergeant. He needed it for his wedding. He forgot to tell me after the wedding he was never coming back to the base again.
So when i was offered the camera in trade for an ounce of something that is no longer illegal (kind of ) . I jumped on the chance. And ever since I have shot Nikon . Not that I don’t like , own or want to own other brands , because I do . I have become enamored with old Nikkor/ Nippon glass and it’s history and now with the latest Nikon glass . And I’m now getting into the T-Max films also . Something special about both . Thanks for the 5 frames article
“Above all, this clearly made me think that wherever in your photographic career you are, you should never stop looking at and re-discovering your own work.”
What great advice!
Beautifully atmospheric pictures, Max.
I recall the soft, muted sound that the FG shutter/mirror make.