People can be made invisible with a slow shutter speed. This photo is of a Sinar F2, an large format camera which uses film of the sizes 4×5 inches or even larger. These types of photographic media can record amazing high detail, but since digital sensor has to be as large as the analog film, there is no digital equal to this camera. The Sinar F2 and other large format cameras are usually used for photographing architecture and that is one of the reasons and the history behind this image.
As a task at Norsk Fotofagskole we were asked to do a commission project where the best photo were to be printed and hung at one of the display walls at the school. My idea was to photograph something that hailed the photography, something that in general could realize the common idea of what photography was and at the same time be appealing to both laymen and professionals. As inspiration I had watched a short, aesthetic movie by Alex Roman, The Third & The Seventh made completely by CGI. I decided to photograph the Sinar F2 in an architectural aesthetic environment with the same feel and mood as my inspiration video. I also wanted the Sinar to be as live like as possible, almost like this curious Wall-E character from Disney.
My first goal was to find a suited location. Since I’ve been studying at NTNU Gløshaugen for six years, and had photographed the Realfagsbygget as an earlier assignment at school, it didn’t take me long to decide upon using that location as my backdrop again. I had called NTNU and made a deal with them it was okay for me to do photography there the same day upon they made it clear that no students were allowed to be photographed
With some help from my assistant Sascha Njaa we dragged the big camera to the location started shooting. The Sinar F2 is made up by four basic parts, a front end where the lens, shutter and aperture is attached, a back end where the film holder and film and focus screen is mounted, in between them a bellow and everything sits on a rod clamped to a tripod. This bellow is easily bent into different angles making the camera look like it had a neck and a face.
One of the challenges I meet was the rule that NTNU made, no students in any photo, since it was in the after noon and people walked in between classes I had to make them disappear in my shoots. One technique is to shoot the same frame several times and later clone the people out of the frame. But since I didn’t want the scene to be completely vacant I decided to go for another solution, slow shutter.
By reducing the shutter speed, stepping down the ISO speed and closing the aperture, I was able to have a decent exposure. The camera that was on an tripod and the surroundings that didn’t move was frozen in the shot, people moving around was turning up transparent silhouettes. Experimenting with different shutter speeds you can achieve the same effect. A helpful gadget if you don’t have a lens with a small enough aperture is to buy a ND-filter which works as sun glasses for your lens and gives you a slower shutter without overexposing the frame on bright days.