Thursday, December 29, 2011


Yesterday evening, as the light was fading (3.30 pm), I was walking the dog around a field I hadn't visited since the summer. From a distance of over 100 yards I could see vivid splashes of colour in the hedge, and I knew I'd missed an opportunity for a photograph. The colour was the remaining seeds and leaves of the Spindle.

The Spindle's name comes from the fact that its wood, which is very hard, was used to make the spindles of spinning wheels. It's a rare tree and hard to find, as most of the time it grows inconspicuously in hedges. With the coming of autumn however, the fruit and leaves go berserk, setting the hedge on fire with colour. Sadly for me, I was two weeks too late to take a photo of this Spindle at its most colourful, the birds had eaten most of the fruit. But I've already made a note in my 2012 diary to visit it next year. My first resolution of 2012.

Fruit of the Spindle - Photograph by Tim Irving
Fruit of the Spindle - Tim Irving

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

I wish you all more play, more fun and more laughter for the holidays. Next year will be wonderful, much better than this year. I'll be back in a few days.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Very Cold Here

Paris on Film - Photograph by Tim Irving
Paris on Film - Tim Irving
The temperature has been freezing here for the past week. Really freezing, with ice on the pavements. So cold in fact I find it difficult to motivate myself to leave the house, so I'm catching up on little tasks I should have completed months ago. Hence the photo above which I'd never seen until this week. It's one of hundreds of negatives and slides I never got around to scanning. Incidentally, the camera I used to take this photo is for sale in my shop.

Tomorrow however, I must go out. London in fact, to see the 2011 Taylor Wessing Portrait prize at the National Portrait Gallery

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rolleiflex Advertising

British Rolleiflex adverts from June 1967. Average annual earnings in Britain for that year was £828. Which makes the nice Rolleiflex Wide Angle just slightly more than 25% of the annual average salary.

Vintage Rollieflex advert. Tim Irving

Vintage Rollieflex advert. Tim Irving

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An elusive look

Rolleiflex New Standard - Photograph by Tim Irving
Rolleiflex New Standard - Tim Irving
Have you noticed that the price and popularity of Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras is as buoyant as ever, and quite rightly so. From my earliest memories of peering onto camera shop windows, Rolleiflex have always been expensive cameras. Of course they are beautifully made precision instruments that will usually out live their owners. I've seen some examples that have been used almost constantly for over thirty years by press photographers. The paint chipped by knocks, leather shrunk by sweat and the lens clouded by constant cleaning with the end of a polyester neck tie. Despite the abuse they still wind and fire.

I've used an old standard (that's it above, in my hand and on my tee shirt), for over twenty years and wouldn't be without it. This particular Rolleiflex is nothing special, it's very basic, but the photographs from it do have a unique look, one that I love and I believe that's the reason why these and a few other camera and lens combinations are still sought after, it's a certain look. At exhibitions and in print, this qualitydraws me in and I find it very appealing.

The look is most striking with medium format cameras. Certain lenses on 35mm cameras can be unique, but in my experience I've found a larger negative in itself has a distinct quality, that's the reason Rolleiflex, Hasselblad and even the toy medium formats, Holga and Diana have a loyal following.

You can try and emulate a photographic look with software, in fact that's a current trend with phone camera apps, to create a lo-fi look. But if you compare the digital effort with the original, side by side, you'll generally find you can spot the fake.

This mysterious look I'm talking about is personal, not everyone will appreciate it. It's very subtle and is best judged in the form of a print, but I can still spot it on a screen. In my case I only became aware of the look after many years, it's one of the advantages of using a wide variety of cameras.


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