Izumi's Diary Page 67      Wednesday 12 December 2012  
My Eyes Opened Wide


Here is Izumi today with a different aspect on the streets for you. This should not come as a complete surprise for I have used it previously.

First please let me quote to you what the famous photographer Mr W Eugene Smith once said: "The world just does not conveniently fit into the format of a 35mm camera".


Now a 35mm camera such as he (and M Cartier-Bresson and all the others in whose footprints I walk) used has a frame size of 36mm x 24mm. This gives you an image ratio of 3:2. My PEN, being of Micro Four-Thirds format, has a frame (or I spose more accurately, sensor) size of 17.3mm  x 13mm. This yields a ratio of 4:3, which is squarer than the 35mm one.

So Mr Smith probably would have been even more inconvenienced with the world as seen through my PEN than with his Leica or even his Olympus Pen-F 35mm SLR which he used for some time in a promotion with Olympus.

And thus I come upon another of those coincidences across time and space.

Perhaps he would have been most blissful had he been able to use a panoramic camera such as a Hasselblad XPan, as I can sometimes and have shown you in these pages before.

Which is leading me to show you more. Faithful Diary readers will remember the happy photographs I captured at the Marrickville Festival. Well, I was intrigued by the challenges of the format as used for street photography so I borrowed the XPan again and we set out.



Here is an Olympus magazine advertisement from July 1965
in which Mr W Eugene Smith shows that he smokes (bad)
and uses an Olympus Pen-F (good). I hope his ashes didn't
fall all over his lenses.
Fly's-Eye View
Hasselblad XPan w 45mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
Sticks and Stones
Hasselblad XPan w 45mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
Mr Sky Poses
Hasselblad XPan w 90mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
Life and Art at Dawn I
Hasselblad XPan w90mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
Life and Art at Dawn II
Hasselblad XPan w 90mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA

I took the opportunity while Sculpture by the Sea was on to familiarise myself again with the XPan. I find that one of the most interesting times to attend is Sunday morning at dawn. It is peaceful, there are not many people around and the light can be very interesting, especially if it is cloudy, as you can see it was that day.

Balancing Between Earth and Sky
Hasselblad XPan w 90mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
Looking at the View
Hasselblad XPan w 45mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA

I have mentioned before that the XPan is not as quick to respond as PEN and he does require his focus to be adjusted manually but I think his differences make the little extra efforts worthwhile and I am not one to set my footsteps away from a challenge, especially one that involves my flâneuristic natures and where I can feel a camera in my hands.

So having become used again to the slower method of working required, I ventured back to more familiar territory to see if I could flush out some Decisive Moments, or if not those at least some Moments that could become Happy Photographs.

The Balloon Chaser
Holga 135Pan w 55mm, 1/100sec, f/8, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
Street Legs
Hasselblad XPan w 45mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
The Three of Us
Hasselblad XPan w 45mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA
Saturday Arvo at the Royal Exchange
Hasselblad XPan w 45mm, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA

Now please allow me to talk a little about my thinking when I captured these happy photographs. In the same way that going from using a digital camera like PEN to using a film camera like Little Brother requires a shift of my thinking, so too going from a normal aspect ratio of 4:3 for PEN to almost 2:1 for the XPan also requires a different way of looking.

With PEN, the frame can comfortably hold one point I am making or one story that I am telling or one thing that I am showing you but if I do that with the wider frame I end up with a lot of unused space. So I have to look for stories or situations that are either wide in scope themselves or that have complementary or contrasting stories or comments or elements in the rest of the frame.

Sometimes these extra elements can be quite prosaic as in The Three of Us or Street Legs where the extra street and shopfronts serve to put the main idea in context so that when you look at the women or the disembodied legs you are aware of the scene extending beyond just that focus. Or in The Balloon Chaser or Saturday Arvo at the Royal Exchange the story that I wish to draw your attention to spreads out across the frame. In Saturday Arvo it is already established in its width whereas in Balloon Chaser the action is yet to move from the left of the frame to the centre then right. But you can already see where it is heading, instead of having to imagine the scene beyond a conventional frame.

I Have a Dream
Holga 135Pan w 55mm, 1/100sec, f/8, T-Max 400 @ 400 ASA

Those of you who know and admire the work of Jeff Carter will perhaps recall his series of people doing mostly ordinary but sometimes peculiar things which he called 'Saturday Arvo'. My happy photograph of the people outside the hotel is so named as a small tribute to Jeff, whom I still miss for his warm-heartedness and humour and general embrace of life.

I think that one of the most frustrating things about people who have gone off to join the ancestors is that you can no longer introduce your friends to them. So I say once again to him "Farewell Jeff, and thank you'.

And those with sharpness of eye will have noticed that I also took the Holga panoramic camera out walking. I must confess to you that it was probably to use up a roll of film that was within him as his image quality lends itself to more creative imagery, as you have seen in the graveyard photographs, than spontaneous street photographs.

As a roll of film must come to its end, so too my Diary page for today draws to a close. I hope you have enjoyed a different look at my world and the lifes within it.

So goodbye from your wider-eyed but still friendly flâneuse,


To fully understand my footsteps, please read me from the start.
Izumi's Diary Page 67
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