First, a happy new year to everyone.
Everyone seems to be taking “selfies” these days, even Prince William! Inevitably most are taken on a mobile device and its easy, looking at oneself on the screen and then pressing the button when you are ready.
On film, (at least on my film cameras) things are slightly different. No screen to see what’s in the picture, no autofocus, no auto exposure and on the Bronica no delayed action. So when I decided to do some self portraits to post on a forum I belong to (filmwasters.com) it took a bit of planning. The easy way is just to stand in front of a mirror but that obviously doesn’t give the best of quality of result and inevitably shows the camera; fine if thats what you want but I decided to try and make the result look like a properly taken portrait.
The first thing to work out with the Bronica was how I was going to trigger the shutter without a delayed action available. Luckily the shortest focusing distance on the 75mm lens (thats 50mm equivilent on a 35mm camera) is about 2’6″ and with a cable release attached I could reach that without too much contortion. I set a chair up put the camera on a tripod and focused on the arm of the chair where I decided my eye line would be when leaning forward with the cable release. From that point I judged that I could cover my head and shoulders reasonably well, although that close a viewpoint does tend to distort the perspective and there’s no way I would shoot a portrait of someone else from that short a distance, but needs must!
I then dug out an old small studio flash which I attached via a PC cord to the camera and fitted with a snoot and set up almost 90 degrees to camera left, just slightly in front of the position I was going to take up.
I erected a sheet of white card on the desk behind me to act as a background.
I then triggered the flash and took a reading off my exposure meter, set the camera and was ready. I only had a couple of frames left on the roll of film so had to be sure I had everything spot on.
So I shot the frames and then developed the film straight away to see the results which I have to say I think are not too bad. Technically I think they are Ok although I feel my experession is a bit “rabbit in the headlights” and wouldn’t have been too happy if that had been the result for someone I was taking a portrait of.
Anyway here’s the two shots.