Channeling Richard Avedon

I recently bought myself a present.  A beautiful 1950’s-ish Rolleilfex 2.8.  

My intention when buying the camera was to use it for my personal work.  But then, a few weeks ago, I decided to bring it up to the studio with me and give it a try.  

For ease, I mounted it on a tripod… which is weird, because I never shoot on tripods. Once it was on the tripod, I decided to take it one step further and tethered it to my strobes.

 It looked so cool.   

And having it set up like that, looking all cool, made me feel cool too.  

When my clients arrived and saw the unusual set up,  I told them (kind of jokingly) that I was going to channel my hero,  Richard Avedon, and we got to work.

Now, we all know that shooting film can be slow.  But let me tell you, shooting on a Rolleiflex that is mounted on a tripod and tethered to strobes takes slowness to an entirely new level.

But for some reason, the slowness of it didn’t stress me out.  I enjoyed it.  

My clients and I talked about the camera.  About Avedon, and how he would work.  We talked about their baby and their plans for the day.  It was so relaxing and so enjoyable that I was sad when it was over.  

And the photos were incredible.

Since that session, I have used the Rolleiflex at every newborn shoot I’ve had.  And I think it’s changing my work a little.

Avedon would often set up his camera on a tripod with a shutter release cable and then just talk to his subjects, or tell them stories, or sometimes flat out lies, and wait for the perfect moment before hitting the shutter.  With the Rolleiflex on the tripod, I’m able to do that too.

Sandra Coan Photography, Little Bellows

From my first session on the Rolleiflex.  Acros 100, Richard Photo Lab.

Being able to look a person in the eye, and wait for the natural moment is incredible.  I feel such a connection to my subjects when I’m shooting this way, and I feel like that connection comes through in my images.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Well, partly because I’m just excited and want to talk about it… but partly because I think there is power in trying something new.  

I don’t care how long you’ve been doing what you do, there is always room to grow.  Push yourself.  Experiment.  Allow yourself to be caught up in a moment.   

You may end up loving what comes out of it.

Sandra Coan Photography, Little Bellows

Ilford Delta 3200, Richard Photo Lab

And just incase you need a little extra creative push, our Little Bellows Film Retreat is happening next month.  Registration is closing tomorrow… so now’s your chance!  Sign up today.  Allow yourself to try something new and be inspired.  You won’t regret it!