life . Portrait . street

Madison, WI


Fontana Giusti

february 20, 2022 // madison

Last week I caught a flu and couldn’t get out, so today I made it extra difficult and I took my TLR (twin lens reflex) camera, a Yashica Mat EM, to play it like Vivian Mayer. And now that I’ve been out to do it like she did, I can say, it is HARD! 

this particular camera has a decoupled meter so it takes more effort to meter, like with the retina, so I mainly relied on the sunny 16 rule today: it was sunny, and I was shooting Fuji Acros 100 II, so I mostly stuck to the settings f16 / at a 1/125 of a second – it worked like a charm.

It took me a while to feel lucky on my walk, but lucky I was! 

The first frame got exposed twice, and the double exposure is stunningly perfect. I had no idea this had happened until I developed the roll, but it feels almost magical. 

For the longest time in the beginning I felt like I was wandering aimlessly and couldn’t find my ground. So at some point I just started composing a back alley with garbage bins that had caught my eye for their texture, and then, out of nowhere, this girl walks into my frame and throws a bag of trash in the foreground bin. Not only did it make the image worth the shot, but it put together my composition and the result works really well… it’s a perfect golden spiral! This was nerdy, I know, but it just happened so fast, I feel accomplished. I’m sure Vivian would approve.

And after that, the ice finally started to break: I was able to gather my strength and go ask people to take their portrait.

For my last frame, I heard someone skating above my head as I was walking past the UW art department, so I walked up to see if there was anything I could photograph, and these two kids had the best reaction when they saw my camera, asking / begging me to take a photo of them. the exposure is a little less sharp than the others, but it’s got their energy, and I’m there for it.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was beautiful today, it felt like spring.

As I said, it took me a while to realize it, but today was lucky!

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