We’re with the band…

Last weekend I met up with some fellow photographers, one of whom also happens to be a musician, for a little expedition in lower Manhattan. On that particular occasion, he was wearing the latter hat, leading the world’s only all-brass Nirvana tribute band around the streets of the East Village. The rest of us swarmed around like so many camera-brandishing flies, taking lots of photos and generally making a nuisance of ourselves.

The collection of cameras was eclectic to say the least. Two TLRs – a Lubitel and a Yashica D – a Pentax K1000, a Rollei 35, and a Canonet were all aimed at the band and bewildered pedestrians alike. I was carrying two cameras: one of my trusty Leica IIIcs, that day mounting a Jupiter-12 35/2.8, and my too-infrequently-exercised Kodak Brownie Hawkeye. The latter, you may recall, has the lens reversed, producing a rather wild distortion out toward the edges; it seemed like it might be well-suited to the task.

Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)

When all was said and done, I had shot up three rolls of film, so I figured the odds were in favor of getting something worthwhile. Once developed I was pretty pleased with what I found. In retrospect, the choice of a 35 was about right for that sort of shooting; normally I prefer something a little longer for shooting in the city, but the ability to get closer more easily lent itself to a wider angle. I did briefly consider taking the Snapshot Skopar 25/4, and I still wonder if that might have been a better choice. Maybe next time.

Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Leica IIIc, Jupiter-12 35/2.8, Ilford HP5+ in Caffenol C-H(RS)

The Brownie Hawkeye was an inspired selection if I do say so myself. With the reversed lens, using it requires a very different approach to composition than you might want with a typical 6×6 camera, so I had to keep reminding myself to keep the subject centered and to frame loosely. Thankfully the viewfinder is pretty conservative, so there’s always going to be some additional coverage beyond what you see. Even so, it’s a lot less predictable than most cameras. When it works out, though, the results can be pretty cool.

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye (reversed lens), Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye (reversed lens), Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye (reversed lens), Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol C-H(RS)
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye (reversed lens), Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol C-H(RS)

After the band was done we retired to a local bar (as you do), and a good time was had by all.


2 thoughts on “We’re with the band…

  1. That last shot of Indofunk is really good. I too am a fan of the inverted Hawkeye Flash, though mine is currently ‘uninverted’. Keep up the good work up there in the NE!

    1. Thanks! I tried the Hawkeye with the lens in the normal position when I first got it, and I found the results too good, technically speaking. I was expecting something closer to the lo-fi Holga look, but the photos really didn’t show anything like that, even in the corners. I suppose the fact that I got an early Hawkeye with the glass lens may account for that, but in any case it serves its purpose far better with the lens reversed.

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