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Saturday, 27 January 2018


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I have pre-ordered this book, I had to. I used Holgas, Dianas and a Rollei SL66 in my film days. I have set all of my cameras other than the a6000 to square. The Sony will not shoot square, one of its very few flaws. I see square. Put on top of that the fact that I love Michael Kenna’s work and you have a sure sale. Can’t wait.

For even more simplicity, you could try a square format pinhole camera.

If you like Michael Kenna and you want to learn more about the story behind this book, there's a nice interview of Kenna by Graeme Green in the current issue of On Landscape magazine. Here's the link, but it is a pay site so you may only see a teaser: https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2018/01/michael-kenna-interview/

I saw a Kenna exhibition at Banbury Museum and Art Gallery a few years ago. His prints are small,I think about eight inches square, but absolutely exquisite.

I have just seen Tim Rudman's exhibition "Iceland, an Uneasy Calm at the same venue. Different but equally impressive. Both photographers use film. When not using a Holga Kenna uses a Hasselblad and Rudman uses a Mamiya 645. Both make darkroom prints. I think I may have to clear out the darkroom and buy another film camera.

Wonderful idea. Looking forward to seeing this book. This video with him visiting a particular tree year after year got me hooked on Michael Kenna to the point of finally trying out the Hasselblad 500cm. Exceedingly naive and presumptuous of me but I have to do it. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sBmaxdB7QWk I recently bought the Italian production Immagini del settimo giorno (Images of the seventh day). That book includes some of the Reggio Emilia photographs, and some night shots in Venice and many others. One shot of trees in a garden at night with the only light that which reflects off a pond is out of this world. He does his own printing still.

For those M43 users who would like to try their hand at a digitally similar focal length, the Olympus 15mm ƒ8.0 Body Lens Cap at around $50.00 would offer a similar experience to the 60mm Holga 120N medium format film camera. The 60mm Holga lens would actually be equivalent to a 14mm lens on the M43 camera set to 1:1.Just something to consider.

Low tech, Holga, whatever... It still ain't stopping him from getting his usually exquisite

The photography book that has made the most impact on me in the last 12 months is "Veterans: Faces of World War II" by Sasha Maslov. Superb photos and moving interviews, a melding of art and history that I think many TOP readers would appreciate.

In the On Landscape article (linked above) Michael Kenna says: "For me, approaching subject matter to photograph is a bit like meeting a person and beginning a conversation." As an intuitive animist that's very much how I feel. I also like his idea of 'visual haiku', though my attempts always seem to need more words of one kind or another.

I should add that I have Holga lenses for all of my cameras. The Micro 4\3 one’s are beautifully similar to my old Holga/Diana work. The one on the a6000 is basically square as the edges go black.

Yet another proof (if one were needed!) that working within the limits of the equipment, whatever those limits may be, and even embracing them, does not inhibit artistic expression, but perhaps enables it.

I've recently accessioned two Michael Kenna volumes to my collection - this was one of them and is excellent. The frontispiece image in this book 'Staflyer' is worth the price of admission alone. The other volume is 'Huangshan - The Yellow Mountain' is Kenna at his most sublime and my candidate for photobook of the year already.

Where are y'all buying the book? Amazon says it is not available yet.

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