Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

July 2, 2008

Camera Style

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 5:26 pm

I recently received a comment on one of my China suburban landscape photographs about the camera I used and the “style” that it implied; e.g. apparent that I had used a small digital sensor, but the image looked like one from a medium or large format camera.

I know that there are a lot of side conversations about a photographers “style”, and the need to get a style or look, whether that is a good thing or not. As photographer or any creative person, we have things we like and things we don’t like, and we have a way of working with our equipment and techniques that we prefer to use and some we don’t. So that over time, we do develop a certain look to our photographs due to our preferrences. I just never really thought about this in relationship to the camera/equipment you use.

It was interesting for someone to observe that my photographs have a medium format look to them. Especially since I have been using a medium format since 1975 or ’76 after buying the Mamiya 67. Even with a drive-by photograph where I am panning the landscape, which is in the domain of the world of small format (35mm and digital). But yet it seems to have carried over the medium format look or style.

As I look at my recent selection of photographs that I am editing out for one of my China series, this one above included, I am now tying to see if I would have made the same exact photograph I would made if I had the Hassy & film versus the small digital. I am not sure that it matters, but would I?

But that also begs the question, what is the ‘Style’ of a small format camera? Is there a style of a medium format camera then? If so, what are the trademarks that make the format of the camera you use, more obevious? Do you lean towards certain subject matter, or how you photograph that subject matter?

Thus is correct to say, that you’re decision on photographic equipment is going to tend to lead you to photograph certain things in a certain style?

To photograph the landscape, be it natural, urban, suburban, does that subject you choose imply the use or need for a medium format camera? How would a urban landscape photograph look different with the smaller format camera?

Best reagards, Doug

BTW, I think that the photograph in this post would have come out the same, whether with the digital or the Hasselblad, with the equivalent lens.

1 Comment »

  1. I’m pretty sure with the hassy you’d have got a square shot, so not quite the same!

    For me, subject determines best camera an camera often suggests a certain subject. Not that they dictate style (how could that be with a range of films?) but a match in working method and image to be captured.

    Comment by Martin Doonan — July 10, 2008 @ 6:49 am


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