I was in grade school when my father took a photography class at a local community college. He was an engineer and natural math whiz, so the technical side of photography came easy to him. It was my dad’s artistic side that was put to the challenge.
Our family was often the subjects of his class assignments. The camera that he used was an Argus C, an old brick-like rangefinder, and his photos actually weren’t that bad. I think that my dad’s class was the spark that piqued my interest in photography. Years later, my own love affair with photography started when I took a photography class during summer school in my freshman year of high school.
There was something magical about processing our own black and white film and then a day later in the darkroom, watching the image that I had composed with my teenage eyes, appear slowly on the print in the developer. I was hooked, but I wasn’t planning on making a living that way.
In my mind, the quintessential image of a great photographer was the guy/gal holding a Leica M2 immersed somewhere in a foreign environment waiting for that decisive moment. I was too busy playing football, skateboarding, and assorted outdoor sports/hobbies for such artistic endeavors. I wasn’t even committed enough to buy a nice camera. I borrowed friend’s cameras, checked them out from the school’s inventory and hoped that I would get one from Santa Claus each year (even though I never really asked for one). Since then, I have used all types of cameras. I have become a huge fan of TLRs, but I have never owned a rangefinder, until now.
I was super excited when my Yashica Electro 35 CCN Wide arrived from Japan, but with that comes the “getting to know you” phase of a new camera as well as the dilemma of what to use for my first roll of film, and what subject to shoot.
I decided on a familiar location and tried to be disciplined enough to create some decent photographs. I picked the Los Angeles County Museum grounds as well as two notable examples of LA modern architecture, The Petersen Automotive Museum and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences library, currently in the final stages of construction. I was fortunate that the rare cloudy skies provided a natural diffuser.
I chose ILFORD HP5 PLUS even though the Yashica’s fastest shutter speed is 1/250 and has an impressively fast f/1.8 lens. I chose five frames that I hope represent the eclectic, artsy, feel that the buildings bring to ”Museum Row.” as well as some of the latitude and characteristics of HP5 PLUS.