Another Lens I Deeply Regret Selling.

Sometime in the 1990's I was asked to go to Paris and do a two week job.  It was one of those photographer dream jobs in which a major manufacturer of a product you love using asks you to please take ooodles and ooodles of their product and use it up for free.  Afga was about to introduce their APX black and white films   (incredibly beautiful emulsions in 25, 100 and 400 ISO's) and they needed a bunch of samples showing off what the film could do.  We chose Paris for fun.  It was late October.

At the time I was shooting with the Canon EOS system.  Had I been on a personal shooting trip I would have left those heavy cameras at home and just taken my little Leica and a few small lenses.  But I knew I'd really have to produce a range of images so I shouldered the bag and headed over.  The two weeks were cold and grey and fun.  I have thousands of negatives I've never printed and hundreds that I have.

This is one of my personal favorites from the trip.  I was staying with a college friend of mine who, conveniently, is French and still lives in Paris.  I'd put him up and he puts me up and it all works out well.  One day we got invited to lunch at the apartment this family lived in.  I don't remember lunch nearly as well as I remember crouching on my knees with an EOS-1 and the original 85mm 1.1.2 lens in my hands, trying to catch the last grey wave of pre-winter light gliding liquidly through the a tall window.  Hoping my technique was sufficient to handhold the rig at 1/30th of a second.

The father is falling into the shadows of the window edges.  The child got more exposure.  It's a tricky negative to print.  But it was only possible to take it because of the speed of the lens.

When I got back home I decided that the 85 was too heavy and too slow to focus so I sold it or traded it for some other shiny object.  Only later, when I took the time to print this image as a large frame on a sheet of 16x20 inch fiber based paper did I realize my mistake.   Believe me,  it's the lenses you passed up or sold on a whim that you will pine for down the road.  Not the cameras.

1 comment:

James Webb said...

Outstanding photo in every way. Definitely one of my favs of yours.