Thursday 29 July 2010

Midnight Ball Editorial

Midnight Ball Editorial, originally uploaded by Shot by McCoy.
Another redux. This editorial piece is from a year or two back for the fashion brand Kisami...

I'm rather proud of the fact we had to do minimal post-production on this (just the usual skin fixes). Though that's credit to us spending hours tweaking the lighting, melting candles and setting reflectors ablaze...

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Sony UC20 & Mamiya C220

This blog is starting to sound like a camera directory. I swear it's not. I like cameras, but I'm not a purist camera nut, or an over-the-top collector.

What I love, is a camera that feels like it has as much to say about how the image will look, as the photographer or the subject matter does. Very few cameras inspire you, or make you feel like you're going to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment every time you depress the shutter.

I remember a tiny Sony digital camera I had years back (I actually found it while moving a while back, but it's in need of a bit of TLC to get it working again), that was exactly this kind of camera. It rarely fired when the button was depressed, and it's auto-focus took a lifetime to work, but it was so small, that every shot was literally "shot from the hip" (and it predated Lomo).

For a tiny camera it packed a powerful flash - not enough to burn images, but enough to get some really good lighting. The images always looked better in grayscale, though the colours were always deep and rich. And hell, was it a handy camera.

Must make a mental note to dig out my memorysticks, and have a look inside that little camera. I think just the LCD display has failed, but not sure if it's the display, the backlight or what...

Another camera I treasure, is my first medium format camera, the Mamiya C220 - a twin lens reflex camera that introduces the added twist of parallax distortion. Having two lenses stacked, the top lens is used for focusing, and the lower lens used for imaging. With a bellows focus, and a vertical film roll, and a heavenly shutter "clunk" - it's such a wonderful camera to use.

It's the only camera I have, with which I like at least 80% of the images it produces. The first time I used it with a model, I shot two rolls of colour (24 shots), and every image made it to the final set. The digital images from the shoot had a 20% pass rate. They're not bad images, frankly I just took too many. Having only two rolls of film to hand, I wanted every shot to be perfect.

Bencini Koroll 24-S

On the hunt for film for Ms. R's new camera, we've found it's a medium format camera, but with a half-frame mask (3cm x 4.5cm) allowing for 24 shots on a 120 film roll. Either way, we can get a plentiful supply of 120 film, can get it processed and can then scan it on our wet scanner.

Made in Milan in the 1950's, it's got about three moving parts; shutter actuator, f9/f16 aperture slider and a really odd looking swinging bit of metal that supposedly controls the shutter speed (for either 1/50 or "B"). It's got a winder as well, so that's four moving parts then...

Everybody we've found online that's used one mentions the focus is stuck in a single position. My theory is that the focus dial is fake, and actually glued on. Crappy Italian manufacturing would explain why they're all stuck in different positions (while the focal length remains the same). Love Italian design. Hate Italian manufacturing.

Looking on the inside, the aperture control is hilarious - it just swings a piece of clear plastic with a horizontal slot through it; basically it crops the top and bottom of the fixed aperture.

And that is exactly why it's such a charming camera. We can't wait to try our new spoils, and to discover the defects, dust marks, blurs and effects light leakage will cause.

Oh, and it's shiny. Really shiny.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Polaroid Land Camera

Every Sunday we seem to naturally wake incredibly early now, giving us chance to hit our little haunt; the local car boot sale... We seem to alternate as to who's day it is - this week it was definitely mine. Last week it was neither of our days - we failed to find any gems, and just bought a load of plants for the front garden. And got a little sunburnt.

I have to give all credit to Ms. R for finding this little beauty, I had been a little preoccupied by vintage Scalextric to notice it at first. The camera is nearly mint - complete with manual, fresh pack of film and two packs of flash bulbs. A couple of dints, and a little chemical frosting from the old Polaroid packs, but otherwise in fantastic condition.

I've not had much of a play with it yet, but I'm already loving the twin "Focus" and "Frame" view finders... The former allows you to focus using superimposed images, and the latter gives you a frame to work with. The film sounds a little dusty, well, it sounds like a box of sand. It does seem though that Fuji make a compatible peel-back film, some more research needed.

She also found a really cute retro 50's/60's camera for herself - virtually no mechanics to it, looking inside it, the thing has about three moving parts. We can't wait to load them both (or rather, wedge whatever fits into them) with film, and start shooting.

Much light leakage and skewed framing to come...


CagedBird 2009 Collection
A little blast from last summer, and a fashion shoot in a dark basement... With a little peek behind the scenes...

Monday 26 July 2010

Day Zero


At the behest of my partner, the darling Ms. R, I'm going to stop annoying her with my popular-media directed rants, and instead mould that clay-like ball of hate into something creative. (Frankly, I'm just going to be directing it at the world at large.)

Here we all are now. So, let's begin...

In short; I shoot models and random objects. With a camera. A big camera.

In a few more words; I shoot fashion, conceptual, avante garde and editorial photography. With a massive bloody camera.

And that people, is the first and most difficult blog out of the way. Let the good times role on.