Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Agfa Isolette

So here's the plan: I'm flogging the Leica, and all of the lenses and filters on eBay. It was a bit like, say, having an affair with a rich elegant German woman. Loads of sophisticated fun whilst it lasted, but one always knew it couldn't last.

And I'm going 100% Medium Format - I'm even going to sell the half dozen rolls of 35mm I've got about the place. What I love about 120 is the actual film: the roll is just long enough to handle easily in the dark. And 12 exposures is just right to shoot on one occassion - 36 end up spending weeks in the camera.

I liked using that Kodak 66 Model III, but of course had to let it go for political reasons. So I'm going for another folder. Without really knowing consciously what I was doing, I've been looking around on Flickr and eBay for a while, for an alternative, and it's the Agfa Isolette. I think we're talking about £30 quid on eBay. So the Leica will cover that and some. In fact, it will leave me in film for a year or more.

The biggest disadvantage in buying cameras on eBay is that you don't get to hold them. Bearing this in mind, I like the way the Agfa looks like a combination of a Zorki and the Kodak 66 - I hope it feels that way. Here's camerapedia on the Agfa Isolette II. There's more information here. And here.

I was going to get by with the Ilford Sporties this year, but I'm wanting to try excessive flash - where the flash isn't, er, hiding its light under a bushel, but is an obvious element in the photo, a la weegee. Except that, unlike him, I want to take photos where I and the subject are complicit: like Richard Billingham or Nan Goldin: I was really impressed by what the latter had to say in that BBC series about the reason why, we say, people would think having their photo taken would mean their souls would be taken, too. In that situation, who's holding the camera? You can only really photograph, and be photographed by, she said, a member of your own tribe.

So, photographing my own tribe, I want flash: the Sporties just aren't synching. And apertures greater than f8 would be nice.