Saturday, 17 January 2009

Hanover Point

Of all my film cameras, the Fuji GS645 was my favourite by a mile. I still have it, but can't afford the film processing any more. Or rather, since going digital, the savings I have made in not processing and contact printing an average of three or four rollfilms per week seem mysteriously to have found other outlets (primarily photobooks, I fear). The combination of medium-format negatives in a highly-portable rangefinder body with a beautiful medium-wide lens, plus the reassurance of that lens-protecting rollbar, is a real winner. I used to own the folding version with a standard lens, too, but sold it to someone whose lust exceeded his judgement, and who made me a ridiculous cash offer for it. They are very desirable cameras.

Of course, my previous "walk around" medium-format rangefinder had been a Koni Omega Rapid, weighing slightly less than suitcase full of concrete. Weight aside, the main contrast was between the perky snick of the Fuji's shutter and the head-turning kerschlunk of the KO's unique pump-action film advance (not inappropriate, I suppose, in the combat situations I believe the camera was originally designed for -- certainly, I'd trust a KO to stop a bullet).

I recently rescanned this image, taken with the Fuji: a New Year's Day photograph of Hanover Point on the Isle of Wight, and my single Greatest Hit (that is, I sold three copies of it from a group exhibition at the ArtSway gallery in the New Forest).

Hanover Point is famous as a fossil-hunting location, with Iguanodon footprints visible at low tide on the beach. I used to take my dinosaur-fanatical son over to the Island quite often as a treat, though I'm afraid it was more often than not a character-building lesson in the contrast between expectations and reality. Good stuff is always turning up, though, as the rate of erosion is alarming: those blocks in the foreground are not rock, but the remains of the clifftop carpark.

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