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Izumi's News
 
 
     
 

Hello, here is Izumi. I have decided to have a separate page that I can use to tell you things that are not part of my Diary and my search for the Decisive Moment. And here it is!

Sometimes I will get excited about a thing I have discovered or been told about that you might be interested to get excited with me too so I can write of it here and not wait until I have enough happy photographs for another page of my Diary.

Also once the excitement has passed and we are satisfied with the news or it no longer has meaning (like an exhibition that closes) I can remove the information so the page does not become crowded like I remember of the Tokyo subway in peak hours.

If you have any ideas for what I can write about to let other people know you can contact me by the e-mail address here and I will thank you for such informations.

 
     
  I have amended the website with the help of my friend Clive and now you can come to me straight away by going to www.IzumisDiary.com.

Please make me one of your favourite bookmarks.
 
     
     
Note: To save your mouse a long journey, the most recent piece of information is at the top.
     
     
     
     
     
     
One Goes Down, Another Comes Up
     
     
 

I think that I am extremely fortunate to be able to capture my happy photographs the way I do and to be able to show them here and talk about them as I do.

And I am happy when my friends show me their photographs and even more so when they have exhibitions so that other people can see and enjoy their views on life as well.

So once again I bring you news of another exhibition by my good friend David.

Here is the poster for it:

 
     
     
     
     
 

Because of a confuffle with artists and bookings, there was a gap in the gallery's schedule that he was able to fill.

Yes, it's the same gallery as the landscape and seascape exhibition and here are its details again:

 
     
         
   

Artpresso Gallery Café
212 Enmore Road
Newtown

(on the corner with Edgeware Road)

Phone: 9557 2053

Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 to 2:30
Saturday, 8:30 to 3:30

Note: This exhibition is now closed and the gallery is undergoing a refurbishment. It will re-open in 2014 with longer hours that include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I shall let you know how all that progresses.

   
         
     
 

I only think this for wry amusement as although I may be ambitious for my passions it is not at the expense of my friends in any way. But this does mean that David now has two recent exhibitions to my one. Something must be done about this, as Jeff Carter would say, but with a smile on his face.

However, it is not entirely without your Diarist, as David asked me if I could compose some haiku to go with the images, as I had done for my Diary page on Camperdown Cemetery. He must like the way I put words together sometimes.

I contributed a few and I hope that should you see the exhibition you do not think I am being over my station as compared with the masters like Bashō or Issa whose poems are there commenting very cleverly on the images.

If you are in that area please do call in and have a look.

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
New Exhibition of Photographs
     
     
 

I would like to tell you about a new exhibition of photographs taken by my good friend David. It is all about the ladders and steps and stairways that go into the seas and waters around Sydney, and the people who use them.

I must admit to you that it is not a subject that I had even thought existed so I was very pleasantly surprised, and even a little bit excited in myself, when I saw the large photographs on the gallery wall. I knew David was working on something with all the printing and framing he was doing, but I wasn't allowed to have a sneak preview, as you can sort of do here.

It is called Stairs That Go Down to the Sea and here are some images from it:

 
     
     
Cloud Fishing, from the Stairs That Go Down to the Sea exhibition
     
     
Morning Dip, from the Stairs That Go Down to the Sea exhibition
     
         
   

It is on at the same gallery where I had my Street Light exhibition that you may remember.

   
         
         
   

Artpresso Gallery Café
212 Enmore Road
Newtown

Phone: 9557 2053

Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 to 2:30
Saturdays, 8:30 to 3:30

Note: It has now closed.

   
         
         
   

It also has some wonderful black & white photographs, a mode that you, as I, may not at first think would suit the subject matter. They were taken with the Panasonic infra-red camera that I sometimes borrow, so they have the lovely rich blacks and strong contrast that I so like. I know my friend Vannie is a great fan of black & white, so I am interested in hearing her critique of the show.

I hope you have a chance to see it. If you do, please mention to Angelo or Patricia at the café that you saw it mentioned in my Diary. One day I hope to have another exhibition for myself at that gallery. Yes, my ambitions are not quenched by just one success and I think that I can satisfy your viewing desires as well.

But this item is about my friend, not me, so I shall finish with the poster for the exhibition.

   
         
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
New 110 Processing Found
     
     
 

Here is a good news for people especially in Sydney using cameras like Little Brother (a Pentax Auto 110) or others that take 110 film, who have been unable to find a happy place to have their colour films processed.

I have found someone who can do it for you.

He is Mr Jeff Nguyen at Linda Photo:

 
     
  242 Illawarra Road If you know Marrickville at all, it is
just up the hill from Banana Joe's.
  Marrickville  NSW  2204
     
  Tel & Fax: (02) 9558 3460 If you do go there, please go down the hill a bit to
my friends' café, Take Coffee, (No 286) where you
can also have a nice cup of tea if you prefer.
   
  carol5501@hotmail.com
     
  Unlike some places, Jeff's prices are very reasonable, being for colour negative, 120, 35mm and 110:
     
  120 $10.00
 

135-36 exp

$10.00
  135-24 exp $  7.00
  110-24 exp $  7.00
     
 

Jeff can provide same-day processing if you want it.

     
  These prices are for processing only so that you can scan and print the negatives yourself, according to your personal preferences.  
 

If you require prints talk to Jeff about what you want.

Linda Photo is open:

 
     
  Monday to Friday   9am to 6pm
  Saturday 10am to 4pm
  Sunday closed
     
  If you do use Jeff's services, please mention that you found him in my Diary.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
Travelling the Tokaido Road Then and Now
     
     
  As you know, I have learnt a lot about the woodblock artist Ando Hiroshige whom I regard as both a flâneur like me and a street photographer like M Henri Cartier-Bresson and others, only using sketches and woodblock prints instead of a camera and photographic prints. My information on and thoughts about him you can read on my Hiroshige page here.  
     
     
 
 
 
This is Number 34 of Hiroshige's Tokaido Road Series and is of Futakawa
 
     
     
 

But of more relevance to us today is an exhibition of all 53 prints (although I have a book of the series and there are 55 prints therein) of The Tokaido Fifty Three Stations by Hiroshige which is showing at the Japan Foundation. Also here you can read about the Tokaido Road.

This exhibition has now closed but I shall leave this entry in my News so you can enjoy the ukiyo-e of Hiroshige that is above.

If I find out about other exhibitions I shall let you know.

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
It's the Same Size, But Not As We Knew It
     
     
 

Sometimes it can be that various technologies that you would think had been overtaken by newer inventions and innovations can only remain as memories or dust-gatherers at the back of cupboards. In our societies this can be called progress. In Germany you can use a very appropriate word that does not seem to live in English or Japanese – schlimmbesserung. It means an improvement that makes things worse.

But other times it happens that as well as going forward things can go the other way and seem to be repeating themselves.

Please let me begin with a little bit of history as I understand it.

In 1972 Kodak introduced a new film format, 16mm in width and in a plastic cassette which could simply be dropped into a camera. They called this small, more convenient consumer format 110 (One-Ten). They also introduced a range of 5 small Pocket Instamatic cameras ranging from simple point-and-shoot to quite advanced with rangefinder focusing. Helped by its small size and the promise of high quality prints, the format took off, and all camera makers introduced models. Most were cheaply produced, low-cost cameras, but Canon, Minolta, Minox, Pentax, Rollei, Voigtlander and others offered advanced, rather expensive models with excellent multi-element, focusing, sometimes zooming, lenses and accurate, electronically controlled exposure systems. As they were then, even today such cameras are capable of making high-quality photographs on 110 film.

At the height of its popularity, in the mid-1970s, the range of 110 films rivalled 35mm and included fast and slow B&W emulsions, colour slide film from the big manufacturers (including the famous Kodachrome), and fast and slow colour negative films. Some people even wondered if the success of 110 would mean the end of 35mm film. Others with a lot of spare time estimated that over 100 million 110 cameras were produced.

 
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
     
 

Then several factors combined to put the early success of the format into a reverse.

Most 110 cameras had been cheaply made, with not-very-good lenses and only very basic exposure controls. The small negative size of 110 film made it difficult to enlarge successfully if not correctly focused and exposed, leading to prints that were often rather grainy and unsharp when most people wanted happy colourful prints to share with their family and relatives. The results in the hand did not live up to the promises of the advertising.

Also the 110 cassette, in the specifications by Kodak, had a plastic tab on one end, to be used with a little pin inside the camera. Designers could use this tab to determine the film speed, enabling advanced cameras to switch between low and high speed film. Low-speed films had a long tab which pressed the pin down and high speed films a shorter one, which left the pin alone. Kodak left it to the film manufacturer to decide which film speeds were high or low. Only a few expensive cameras like the Pentax 110 took advantage of this feature, deciding that 80 ASA would be low and 400ASA would be high. The rest didn’t care or ignored it. This meant that a lot of the time the cameras were under or over exposing by as much as two stops. Even the format’s inventor was guilty – the last 110 film that Kodak produced was 400 ASA colour negative sold in a cassette that told the camera it was "low" speed.

All this, plus not very good results from low cost cameras and processing, meant that 110’s popularity started to fade around 1976. By 1977, despite all the predictions of amazing new designs and features, camera sales started to dwindle. By January 1978 it was obvious that 110, as a popular format, would not last long.

The Pentax System 10 was introduced in 1978, when 110 was already on the decline, but this did not seem to deter them. After all, they had put a lot of thought and effort into making it as complete a system as they could.

 
     
     
 
 
 
The whole Pentax System 10 – What a Lot You Got!
 
     
     
 

But where did this System 10 idea come from? Please bear in mind that a lot of the exact history of the Pentax System 10 and other 110 cameras is lost in the mistiness of time or the dustiness of archives. But this is what I have discovered so far.

In Japan in the late 1940s and early 1950s a company called Sugaya Optical Co. Ltd., based in Tokyo, made various subminiature cameras taking 17.5mm or 16mm film. Two of its cameras were the Hope (Japanese market name) and Myracle (US market name).   

 
     
     
Picture by Rick Soloway
 
 
Myracle Model II
 
     
     
 

Then when the 110 bubble came to the East Mr Sugaya, the founder of the company and a former Nikon engineer, in 1978 made about 200 of a model he called the Minimax Pocket 110 EE. One hundred and fifty were exported to Europe and the remaining fifty or so were sold in Japan at the rather high equivalent price of $250.

 
     
     

Picture from
Scott's Photographica Collection

 
 
Mr Sugaya's Minimax Pocket 110 EE
 
     
     
 

It must have been of some success as Mr Sugaya decided to develop a 110-based SLR. In 1977 he had ready the first version of the Sugaya Micro F EE 110 which was advanced for the time, with screw-mount interchangeable lenses, a 1sec to 1/500sec shutter speed range and a CdS metering system.

Getting to this prototype stage must have cost Mr Sugaya more money than he expected, or more than he had, so he sold the idea, the prototype and the plans to Pentax where a Mr Suzuki and the engineering department took it on, and the rest is history that we can hold in our hands, and up to our eyes, as they say.

There is a bit of discussion about how much the Pentax Auto 110 was changed from the Sugaya Micro F EE 110, but unless we can see them both in pictures we may never know. I have not been able to locate a picture of the Sugaya Micro F.

So it was that in 1978 Pentax launched the Auto 110 SLR, a very advanced single-lens reflex camera that used a 110 film cassette and was able to tell if the film was low (64/100 ASA) or high speed (400 ASA). One advantage of the cassette system was that if you were caught with a roll of the wrong speed film in the camera you could, with only the loss of one frame, change it to the other type. Or you could go from black & white to colour.

The Auto 110 was introduced with three interchangeable lenses; a wide-angle 18mm, a standard 24mm and a telephoto 50mm. All were a fixed f/2.8 and the camera decided the shutter speed, but seemed to do it wisely in most cases. Three more lenses were introduced in 1981; a 70mm telephoto, a 20-40mm zoom and an 18mm fixed-focus, all again at f/2.8.

A model called the Safari, in desert camouflage, was also introduced.

 
     
     
 

 

 
 

Suave Little Brother - the Pentax Auto 110 Safari
Can you have a Playboy Pentax?

 
     
     
   
 
Improved Little Brother - the Pentax Auto 110 Super
 
     
     
 

An improved 110 Super model was released in 1982 and the camera system continued to be sold until about 1985. This System 10 represented the only complete SLR system manufactured for the 110 film format, and included flash units, auto winders, clips, cases and holders and an extensive range of filters and close-up lenses. Soligor even made a 1.7x tele-converter which fitted all the lenses. I have one and have used it at the Dunlop factory when even the 70mm wasn’t long enough. The only lens missing to my creative eye is a really wide angle. The 18mm is equivalent to 36mm in full-frame terms but I would love to have a 12mm (24mm eqiv) or 9mm (18mm eqiv) to put on Little Brother.

Now, can I think these hopeful thoughts?
Only a few years ago nobody expected 110 film to make a comeback and today we (will soon) have modern emulsions of much higher quality than the original 1970s films, with high resolution and superior grain structure. There are many thousands of Pentax 110 cameras in use and these new films will encourage even more. So perhaps it is not too fanciful to wish for a proper wide angle lens made, if not by Pentax, then in the spirit and style of the original 110 optics?
Let me declare here that I will be first in line to buy one.

If you want to learn even more about the system and its history a search via Google will yield much information. I shall put a few links at the end of this page to set you on your way.

 
     
     
 
 
     
     
 

Now let us move our minds to today.

You probably know of Holga and Lomo cameras. In fact I have used a Holga pinhole lens to interesting effect at the Resting Place of the Ancestors and also to create my image for this year’s World Wide Pinhole Day photograph.

So you will understand why I became a little excited when I found out that Lomo announced that it was going to begin making 110 film again and also cameras that took it. Their first cameras are two fisheye-lensed models and I must confess to you that I regard fisheye lenses pretty much in the same way as I now regard pinhole lenses. If you have been reading my Diary you will know that my regard is not high at all. I think it is something that you grow out of the artistic possibilities fairly quickly and then only use the lens on special occasions when the situation calls for it, and the call does not come very often.

 
     
     
 
 
 
The Lomo Orca (because it is black and white) film in and out of its cassette
 
     
     
 

Now those of you who know about Lomo and Holga cameras know that they have a rather cavalier attitude to accepted standards, regarding light leaks and distortions and double exposures as being part of some creative process rather than things to be aware of and usually avoided. And to an extent I think they are right. If other art forms can leave the representational behind and go off in abstract directions then photography can (and has been for many years) too.

With the first batch of their Orca film they cheerfully admit that there is no backing paper for the film, so there are no frame numbers and there will be light leaks at the end of the roll.

But as I was searching for more information I came across Films Reborn in Hong Kong who were also making 110 films but in proper cassettes with backing paper and frame numbers that should work well with the high quality 110 cameras made by Pentax, Rollei, Canon, Minolta and a few others back in the 1970s. So I contacted them and ordered a few rolls of 100 ASA (Yes, I know, but it’s film and sometimes I’m a traditionalist) black & white negative film.

 
     
     
 
 
     
     
 

So inevitably this led to me being unable to resist myself. Because I already had the lenses I bid on a very nice looking Pentax Auto 110 on eBay and it should arrive shortly from Taiwan.

I also decided that if I was going to shoot on film to be true to the spirit of M Henri Cartier-Bresson and the traditions of street photography I should do as much towards creating the final image as I could. So I have ordered a developing tank and spirals and various other things with which I can do my own processing. I think that I will stop wetting my hands at that point and scan the negatives into Photoshop and proceed digitally from there. Otherwise, how can I show you the results in my Diary?

All this could become rather interesting. To be walking the streets with film in my camera knowing that I will be processing it myself brings me closer to my street photographer compatriots of the past and especially Jeff Carter, who always processed his own black & white negatives.

So in a way I am going forwards, by going backwards, without really knowing what lies around the corner or what the results will be. 

If you would like to come with me you can follow my new and old footsteps in my Diary.

 

To be continued…

 
     
     
     
 

Please Note: Films Reborn is preparing their new website but until it too is born you can contact them about their films (they now have a colour negative too) at filmsreborn@gmail.com.
Or you can see the range of their films at their Flickr page.

 
     
     
 

Here are some links for more Pentax 110 history and information:

The Wikipedia page

Pentax 110

The Camerapedia page

The Subminiature Club

and you should be able to find more.

 

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
Determination Bears Sweet Fruit
 
     
     
 

If you have been following my Diary footsteps for a while you will remember me mentioning the exhibition I would have some day. You may have even smiled a little to yourself at my determination to move from web pages of the Diary to frames on the wall.

Well, please keep smiling because now is that day.

 
     
     
 
 
     
     
  Here below is the front window of Artpresso, which is a very clever combination of art gallery and café, so you can satisfy your desires on several levels at the same time...  
     
 
 
     
     
 

As you can see, the exhibition is called Street Light (thank you David for another clever title) and is on from now until the 2nd of June. If you are in or near Newtown and would like to see what a happy photograph looks like in A3 size on a gallery wall please call in to Artpresso and have a coffee and recall our early morning walkings together, me with my feet and you with your mouse.

Here are some of my friends (and other people who are not my friends yet) who came to the opening...

 
     
 
 
     
     
 
 
     
     
 
 
     
     
  And here are my friends Jennifer and Gary proving that being with art makes you very happy...  
     
 
 
     
     
 

I must confess to a little sadness, however, and that is that my friend Jeff Carter, who was so helpful in his supportive way when I had just started seeking the Decisive Moment and was a bit unsure of my directions sometimes, is no longer with us to come to the opening with my other friends. But when I had finished hanging the happy photographs I did have a quiet word of thanks to him and I'm sure that he had an ancestral smile for me in return.

And thank you Angelo for starting the café gallery and Tony and Tina at Sydney Art and Framing who made the frames for me. It is hard to get nice aluminium frames these days and I think aluminium suits photographs much better than wood does. I have wondered why this is so as it applies also to traditional organic wet-darkroom silver-based prints as well as electronic digital inkjet-printed ones. Perhaps it is a case of opposites being attractive.

And I must say a special thank you to my friend Nhi for letting me use the happy silhouette photograph of her as the iconic image for the exhibition. Cám ơn, Nhi.

And lastly if you don't feel like a coffee when you attend, Artpresso serves a very nice cup of tea – it's proper loose-leaf. And they have biscuits, too.

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 

I hope you have made happy pinhole photographs on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Days of the past.

My one for 2011, taken in the ancestors' resting place at Waverley Cemetery, can be viewed here.

This year's day is over now and you can view all the contributors here.

And my happy pinhole photograph can be viewed here. I would not normally have gone back to the same location as last year but I could not think of a better sunrise place to make the talents of the Holga pinhole lens fully used.

You will have seen similar happy photographs in my Diary (page 47) but I took some more especially on the Pinhole Day. I must thank the ancestors for making it such a suitable sunrise. If there had been clouds what I had envisioned would have been impossible to achieve and I must confess to you that I did not have a second idea for that case.

But next year, it will be elsewhere!

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
One Very Long Footstep
 
     
     
 

Now I have something interesting for you to look and perhaps wonder a little about. Here is a photograph that you probably will be able to tell how it was created especially if I give you the hint that as you know I have experimented with pinhole photographs several times in my Diary pages.

 
     
     
 
 
     
     
 

Yes, it is a pinhole photograph of the skyline of Toronto but the exposure was one whole year in the making. The very patient photographer was Michael Chrisman and he started the exposure on 1st January 2011 and finished it on 31st December 2011.

You can find out about it from the Toronto Star in Canada by going to this page here.

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
In a Faraway Land a Long Time Ago...
 
     
     
 

I have mentioned to you before Mr Nobukuni Enami who was a photographer in Japan from the 1880s until he died in Yokohama in 1929. There are some of his hand-coloured photographs on my Diary Page 6 for you to admire.

Well, I have now discovered that the Edo Ladies' Pinhole Camera Club was photographed by Mr Enami and I have made a special page of his photographs of them which you can look at by clicking your mouse here.

I cannot find any of the photographs taken by the Ladies of the Club but I shall continue looking and if I find any I will let you know in these pages.

But if you are eager and want to see all of Mr Enami's photographs straight away you can start at this website.

I have also learnt about other flâneurs (but no flâneuses so far) from olden times that you may find interesting. Because they are not like my Diary pages I have put them in a separate section which you will notice on the new Index Page or in the list of page links at the bottom of each page. Or you can go from here to Ando Hiroshige or Nobukuni Enami.

 
     
     
     
 
Here is a ukiyo-e taken by Chikanobu circa 1890 of the Edo Ladies' Pinhole
Camera Club
having tea and deciding what photographs to make next
 
     
     
     
 

 
 
This photograph is by Nobukuni Enami and I will have more to tell you about him
in a short while. But you can have a preview of him now if you look at page 6.
 
     
     
         
 
 
  You can probably know from their interest in photography that these were very modern ladies in their time and here above you can see them checking their mobile phones. They are probably making sure that they all have the correct date for the next meeting or photography excursion.  
     
     
     
     
     
         
         
 
Une Flâneuse avec PEN – Parisdays
 
         
         
 
 
 
Barges on the Seine at Sunrise, Yvon, 1919
 
         
         
     
 

When I was younger and living still in Japan and talking to my uncle about photography and photographing in the streets we looked at many books that he had. As I have talked to you before he had several books of happy photographs taken by M Henri Cartier-Bresson which had a great impression on me but I have not told you before of the others.

One was a very old book of photographs of Paris taken by M Jean Pierre Yves-Petit (1886-1969) who called himself Yvon and was very forward-looking and successful with his photographs. In the same ways that I like the early morning light and the deep shadows and the window reflections because that is the Australian light, so Yvon liked the rainy days and the soft light and the dramatic skies and clouds of Paris because that is the European light.

 
     
     
         
 
 
 
Les Bourquinistes du quai de la Tournelle, Yvon, 1920s
 
         
         
     
 

Here above is Yvon's most famous photograph, for which he paid the old bookseller five francs to sit by his stall and not go home until he had finished his exposures.

I am telling you about this because I remember reading about the idea of being a flâneur, who is a person who “wanders along, watching for the sunbeam or the timely cloud, or a shadow or a light playing on the river, trees, palace or cathedral” and in the case of Yvon is a person with a camera who photographs these things as well as the people in such places doing strange or interesting or even very human things.

And I thought that was perfectly describing what I wanted to be doing, except I would have to be a flâneuse for reasons that were obvious, even though everything that I read about flâneurs always said that they were men only. But even then I would not let myself be daunted by such customs and if Izumi wanted to be a flâneur, then a flâneuse she would be!

But I am also telling you about this because there is now a wonderful book all about Yvon and his life and his photographs which you can add to your own library of wonderful photographic books. You can find out more about it here and read reviews here and here and many other places too.

 
     
     
         
 
 
 
Le Tour Eiffel, Yvon, 1920s
 
         
         
         
         
         
     
     
 
Pinholidays
 
     
     
 

If you are still seeking happy pinhole photographs I have come across something that may interest your excitement.

       

It is a pinhole lens made by Holga so specially for our PEN cameras that it even has that fact written on the front of it. You can find out more here.

They are not very expensive so I must admit that I have spent some of my pocket money on one because I am interested to see how it compares with the Pinwide one.

From my readings though, I think that to get more sharpness in pinhole photographs you need to use a camera with a much bigger sensor or one with 120 film in him.
The Pinwide hole is 0.10mm wide and the Holga is 0.25mm wide so the proof will be in the seeing.

And I must thank my friend Peter who first said what I have written as the heading so he doesn't think that I steal the words from him and pretend that they are my own.

UPDATE: My PEN and I have tried out this lens as well as the Pinwide pinhole lens and you can see the results and read what we think of him on my Diary page 25.
You can jump straight to it if you let your mouse click here.

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
Rainydays
 
     
     
 

Several times in my Diary I talk about rainy days and how the wet streets can make for happy photographs if the light is favourable with the water and reflections and the way people are behaving at such times.

 
     
     
 
 
 
Izis (Israëlis Bidermanas), Châlon, 1950
 
     
     
 

Thus the image above here shows the happy photographs that can be captured on days like this. I would like there to be such circumstances for my PEN and I to explore what our creativities would do.

If you would like to admire more rainy photographs then please go to this place.

 
     
 

And if you go here you can see many wonderful Japanese woodcuts of rain and rainy scenes. I know that they are not photographs but before the middle of the nineteenth century when photography was becoming established as a recorder of the world around it, such things as etchings and woodcuts, because they could be copied many times and so shared among many different and widely spaced people, were the recorders of scenes and events and persons. And like photography was to become, skilled artisans of these crafts could take them from being just representations of actual things to being places to record and store and share thoughts and feelings and emotions.

I have always thought that it is not right to think of poetry only as words written on paper but it can also be images that evoke a response in the person viewing them that cannot be easily expressed in a wordly language.

Like this woodcut below.

 
     
     
 
 
 
Rainy Night at Shinobazu Pond, Shiro Kasamatsu, 1938
 
     
     
 

If you are interested in seeing more marvellous woodblock prints from the masters of the art, both old and new, or perhaps even buying some for your walls and for you to look at and think about, there is a very good Australian website here.

Especially I like the works of Kawase Hasui who lived from 1883 to 1957. What a range of differences in society he would have seen and experienced. It would be interesting to compare his early woodblock prints with his last ones. There! That is a pleasant personal project for us both to undertake.

And here is another one I must show you – it could have been taken by any one of the flâneurs Ando Hiroshige or T Enami or Yvon or Cartier-Bresson or Jeff Carter or even, I am allowed to say, Izumi Yamada, had we been there with our cameras.

 
     
 
 
     
  But it was made by Kasamatsu Shiro in 1954. He lived from 1898 to 1991 and called this image Girl on the Shore at Fukuura. It is interesting that in a time when cameras abounded he still preferred to create his images in the old woodblock way. I am glad that he did and I think that you are too. I am very tempted to go and count my pocket money and see if ownership of it is possible. It will make a change from being a lens otaku which will make a certain person happy, I think.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
Rediscoveries
 
     
     
 

Sometimes you can come by things without expectation and have a very pleasant surprise because of it. Maybe you even think that it is planned somehow that you meet these things in your life.

Please look at these photographs:

 
     
     
         
   
 
New York, 1954
   
         
         
   
   
Florida, 1960
 
         
     
 

Are you thinking perhaps they are by M Cartier-Bresson or Mr Alfred Steiglitz or another famous street photographer? No, they are really by Ms Vivian Maier who lived and photographed in Chicago and other places from the 1950s to the 1990s and who kept her photographs a secret from people all that time.

Perhaps the square images can be a clue because she captured her photographs with a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera. When you are looking at her photographs please remember that this was not a camera that she held up to her eye like M Cartier-Bresson and his Leica or even Izumi and her PEN. No, this camera was held in front of her and she looked down on a screen to compose and focus at the top of the camera. And because of the habit of lenses the image had left and right on the opposite sides to real life so it was hard to pan with a subject unless you had many practices. The camera used 120 film to produce a square image of 6cm x 6cm and so was also bigger than a 35mm camera. But these were perhaps swinging roundabouts because if the camera was held at about the height of Ms Vivian's waist maybe the people in the photographs would not realise they were being subjects as much as if it was held to her eye. And like M Cartier-Bresson, after her practices she could probably compose and focus accurately without having to look at the image through the camera, especially in the daytime when her apertures were smaller.

You can read all about her story and how her photographs were discovered and see many other lots of them here.

When I was looking at them I had a feeling in my head of amazement that such wonderful photographs could exist and I was so lucky to be able to see them and think of how many thousands she captured in her times. I will order the book so I can hold in my hands such images and wonder and imagine what it was like to be on the streets of New York and Chicago and other places such as she was in those times capturing all these happy photographs.

Please order the book too if you like her photographs so that projects like this one can be abled to happen more and such wonders can be in our world.

There is another story about her here and you can order the book here from New York or perhaps here from Australia or from your favourite bookshop.

 
     
         
         
 
 
 
Florida, 1957
 
         
     

 

 
  I will feel a humble and happy girl if some of my street photographs can be like a small part of hers and I will work towards my exhibition some day with Ms Maier to inspire me and my PEN onwards.  
         
         
 

UPDATE: There is a new website for Ms Maier's photographs and a lot more of her work to be seen here.

And there are some of her happy photographs in colour. Also I learnt that for her coloured photographings she used a Leica like M Cartier-Bresson and like I sometimes pretend that my PEN is so I can try to feel what it would be like to shoot with one.

 
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
  And if I am mentioning some person or camera or place in my Diary and you want to find out more information by their websites I will put the links here for you too.
I shall leave the links here even if I take away the page with the information because it is out of date or for another reason.
 
         
  The camera shop where we bought my PEN is Digital Camera Warehouse.  
         
  B & H Photo in New York is where I bought some other lenses.  
         
  Here is SLR Magic in Hong Kong who sells the fast 35mm, 26mm and 11mm prime lenses.  
         
  My friend's Vietnamese restaurant is the Bay Bua in Potts Point, Sydney.  
         
  Here you can get a famous Zero pinhole camera such as my uncle used.  
         
  Or you can get a Pinwide pinhole lens from Wanderlust Cameras.  
         
  And details of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day are here.  
         
  The London Street Photography Festival information is here.  
         
  My friend's café is L'Espresso in Double Bay, Sydney.  
         
  The website for T Enami's photographs of Old Japan is here.  
         
  And please meet the members of The Edo Ladies' Pinhole Camera Club.  
         
  Here is Artpresso, the café gallery where my Street Light exhibition was on.  
         
  And Sydney Art and Framing is where the aluminium frames for the exhibition were made.  
         
         
 
 
 
 
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