The Whole Roll – Nikon FE2 and Rollei S400 – By Felix I Flores Rodriguez
The art of black and white photography is as old as the art itself. Color photography sometimes masks the true meaning of an image yet, on certain occasions, will distract or even rob the viewer of the moment’s essence. “Photography is a medium of formidable contradictions. It is both ridiculously easy and almost impossibly difficult”. (Edward Steichen). A painter gets a blank canvas for where to place their world vision. A writer gets a blank piece of paper on where to create their world. However, a photographer gets a complete picture and provides viewers a window into their world with their imagination, skills, and vision. “When one sees the residuum of greatness before one’s camera, one must recognize it in a flash.” (Yousuf Karsh).
I did not particularly appreciate writing until, one day, I did. Photography saved me and let me quiet the voices inside my head, the doubts, guilts, and regrets. However, writing gave me an avenue to share those emotions with others. I like to call them my extended friends; it is incredible that through this media, one can communicate with people worldwide. The world of photography has changed since I began my journey in 2010 from DSLR to mirrorless, and only God knows what’s next? Artificial intelligence? “The most important piece of equipment in your bag is your attitude,” (Joe McNally). Nonetheless, analog photography remains a mode that keeps bringing people in for a taste of the past and a way to slow things down in this fast-paced world.
This article series is called The Whole Roll, and is a simple concept. You must share a whole roll of film, every frame. The images should be taken with the same film in the same camera, and ideally one lens too. Sounds easy, right? However, once you go to a location and start to take photos, the light changes, and your eyes see different angles. But remember, you cannot use a different lens. Now the dilemma is to change the lens and abort the entire roll assignment, walk closer or further from the subject, or make a mental note and leave the topic for your next project.
My plan was travel to Germany for business and visit a great friend. I hoped to do two or even three rolls of film, and yes, this time will use my favorite film Lomography Berlin kino 400. I have so many ideas in my head but still only 36 opportunities to put it all together and hope all goes as planned. If not, changing the roll of film and trying again – it is not a race, but a destination. Well, things did change, and I did use the Berlin Kino 400, yet not for this assignment. For this, I used a roll of Rollei S400 and the Nikon FE2 with the Nikon 20mm f2.8 and Holla 62mm Orange filter. This was my first time using the film. I like it, I still have two more rolls at home and plan like to use them for a different project.
I visited the town of Coburg. I was stationed at Bamberg, Germany, for five years and never saw this town. I used this opportunity to spend an entire roll of film on a location I never visited. The town of Coburg is full of exciting buildings, objects, people, and statues that offer plenty of photographic opportunities. I guess better late than never. The results were 36 images that I will share with you all here.
The city of Coburg is located on the Itz river in the Upper Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. It joined Bavaria by popular vote in 1920. Furthermore, Coburg is the home to one of Germany’s largest castles, Veste Coburg, a place where Martin Luther lives while translating the Bible into German. Also, the recently passed Queen Elizabeth has a connection to the town of Coburg, Germany. The meaning of the word Coburg is unclear and has ties to the meaning of cow borough. The city has a population of 41,500 and retains many historic buildings due to minimizing damage during World War II. Coburg’s coat of arms honors the town’s German patron, Saint Maurice, the Coburg Moor. St Maurice was an Egyptian Christian who rose through the ranks of the Roman army. The original coat of arms was restored in 1945 at the end of World War II. Today, the silhouette of the patron saint of the city of Coburg can be found mainly on maintenance hole covers and the city coat of arms. Coburg is referred to as “Europe’s Capital of Samba.”
The art of photography can be as easy as breathing or as hard as climbing Mount Everest; it only depends on how you look at it. At times I cannot photograph anything, and at times photos appear in front of me at every corner. Furthermore, the transition to seeing in black and white or light and shadows took a long time to develop in my case. Also, as with everything else, it takes practice and the desire to improve one’s craft. My advice to anyone that wants to start photography as a hobby is to go out and take photos of anything that interests you, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Art is subjective and beautiful in its own right; stay safe and continue to photograph the world around you.
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