Henry Wessel: one camera, one lens, one emulsion

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Karim Ghantous, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. I just discovered the work of American photographer, Henry Wessel. His subject matter included deserted landscapes as well as curious urban scenes and moments. A lot of photographers today follow in his footsteps, and I would like to give it a try myself.

    Noteworthy was the fact that he used only one camera, one lens, and one film emulsion for a large part of his career. Now, that's not a prescription. But, it's interesting to note that all high end phones today are arguably less limiting than Wessel's kit.

    Some people use their phones for almost everything, and the iPhone 11 Pro is pretty close to being a professional tool for many. It already is for some. Modern smartphones are more capable than we might give them credit for.

    The bigger point is not the brand, but the idea. If Wessel can create great photos with one focal length, and not feel limited, then so can we.

    The Photography Of Henry Wessel Reminds Us To Stop, Observe, And Appreciate - IGNANT
    MarcelRomviel likes this.
  2. Thanks.

    When we still had a photography program at my institution, lots of students (and with encouragement from their professors) would do projects where they would limit themselves in terms of focal length and other variables.

    Many of the classic photographers of the early days limited themselves to essentially one camera and one lens, out of necessity, if nothing else.
  3. I like the idea and honestly will often go out with a single body and something like a 28mm and that’s it. Time was the only film I used was Tri X and I am often tempted to spend six months using nothing else. I may be wrong but I think Cartier Bresson used a very limited array of lenses.

    Rick H.
  4. There's also a professional photographer who shoots with old digital cameras.

    Really I think it's always been about the photographer and knowing how to use the equipment to play to its strengths.

    I recently purchased an old Canon waterproof P&S that's developed something of a cult following. The reviews rave about its image quality. Personally I'm not that impressed. It's 90's era brain is easily fooled by challenging light conditions and there's no manual controls to allow you to compensate, - but it is a fun little camera. I think of it as a notch above a disposable.

    But in the hands of a good photographer it would take some excellent pictures. Fred Herzog apparently used one for awhile.

    Nevertheless the choice of equipment always involves some compromise and limitations. That doesn't mean you can't happily work within those limitations.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  5. For me it is Tri-X, 150mm Soft lens with 3 disc set on the venerable RB67 Pro SD.
  6. Hardcore!

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