Tag Archives: Black and White

Robert Capa with Rolleiflex TLR

Certainly, these color photographs were shot on a Rolleiflex TLR 🙂 See Photo below.


One of the 20th century’s most famous photojournalists, Robert Capa is renowned for his stark images of human conflict – but a New York exhibition of unseen colour shots could change all that.
The Observer, Saturday 14 December 2013 13.24 GMT
Portrait Of Robert Capa 

Robert Capa, pictured in Portsmouth in 1944, was best known for his war shots. But a new collection shows a gentler side. Photograph: Time Life Pictures/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

An extraordinary group of hitherto unseen colour photographs by Robert Capa, one of the 20th century’s greatest photojournalists, is to be seen for the first time.

The photographs, taken on assignment for US magazines during the second world war and the late 1940s and early 1950s, reveal Capa – one of the masters of black-and-white photography – to have been an early practitioner of colour work. At the time it was a relatively new medium, snubbed by some of his contemporaries as crassly commercial and distorting of reality.

The photographs are among thousands of largely unseen colour images taken by Capa from 1938, when he was covering China’s war with Japan, until 1954, when he was killed by a landmine while covering the conflict in Vietnam.

Though acclaimed for his black-and-white imagery – from the “falling soldier” photograph taken during the Spanish civil war, showing a Republican militiaman being hit by a fascist bullet, to the series of grainy D-Day shots of US soldiers on Omaha Beach – Capa worked in colour for most of his career.

New immigrants disembarking from the Theodor Herzl, near Haifa, Israel], 1949 -50New immigrants disembarking from the Theodor Herzl, near Haifa, Israel], 1949 -50 Photograph: Robert Capa/International Center of Photography/ Magnum PhotosHowever, the question of whether to use the new medium – Kodak introduced Kodachrome in 1936 and Ektachrome in the 1940s – or stay with black and white haunted the photojournalist elite for decades. It became one of the profession’s most bitterly contested battles, with Capa’s close friend and colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson declaring: “Photography in colour? It is something indigestible, the negation of all photography’s three-dimensional values.”

Cartier-Bresson would later destroy a large proportion of his colour negatives and transparencies – despite providing Life magazine with a famous, if uncredited, colour cover shot in 1959 for an in-depth report on China.

Following Capa’s death, his huge body of colour work – including travel, high fashion and Hollywood commissions – has been largely overlooked by photo-historians and biographers. That is about to change.

Next month, the International Centre for Photography (ICP) in New York is staging an exhibition aimed at correcting this distortion of Capa’s creative legacy. Capa in Color will feature 125 images, many on view for the first time, or unseen for nearly 70 years. The ICP estimates that it holds more than 4,200 colour images by Capa, with the vast majority unseen.

Ava Gardner on the set of The Barefoot Contessa, Tivoli, Italy, 1954Ava Gardner on the set of The Barefoot Contessa, Tivoli, Italy, 1954. Photograph: © Robert Capa/International Center of Photography/Magnum PhotosAmong the colour pictures taken by Capa for bestselling US magazines, including Life, Collier’s, Holiday and Ladies’ Home Journal, and the Magnum photo agency he co-founded in 1947, are studies of his friend Picasso playing with his infant son Claude in the south of France in 1948, and screen idol Ava Gardner, another friend, on the Italian film set of The Barefoot Contessa in 1954.

Capa covered the turbulent founding years of the state of Israel in the late 1940s, and chose to use colour as well as black and white to record the arrival of new immigrants in Haifa. His work in travel journalism also led to one of the most touching of his previously unseen photographs – a Lapp family, in northern Norway, in the early 1950s.

However, technical considerations, as much as philosophical ones, meant that colour photography remained an expensive and slow option in its early days. Capa used Kodachrome film for some of his work while based in Britain during the second world war – his studies of American and British bomber crews are some of his least-known wartime gems – but many of those shots were never used in magazines and remain unseen. The early Kodachrome developing process was notoriously slow – picture sometimes taking days, if not weeks – and, in the wrong hands, could yield disappointing results.

A Lapp family in Norway, 1951A Lapp family in Norway, 1951. Photograph: Robert Capa/International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos”Capa had those Kodachromes processed at a plant in England,” explains ICP curator Cynthia Young. “But he complained about the processing there. Even now, you can see from those pictures than they are not the classic Kodachrome colours.”

The tonal balance of many of the Capa colour shots on Ektachrome had been lost over the years, as the film’s pigments faded, but the ICP has painstakingly brought them back using digital technology. Astonishingly, the Kodachrome images – between 60 and 75 years old – needed no restoration. Kodak ceased producing Kodachrome film in 2009.

“Capa knew that he had to use colour, to remain relevant to magazines,” says Young. “One of the reasons that we haven’t seen this work of his before is that for the most part they don’t represent the big, heroic events which he was known for. After his death, it just seemed such an anomaly that this great black-and-white master should have done work in colour. That’s why this was forgotten.”

From 1947 on, Capa always used black and white together with colour. When he was killed in Vietnam, one of the two cameras he carried on his last day was found loaded with colour film, the other, black and white.

One of Capa’s greatest colour photo-stories was a detailed look at daily life for women in Russia, written by John Steinbeck and featured in a 1948 edition of Ladies’ Home Journal. Commissioning editor John Morris, who had been Capa’s boss at Life magazine’s London office during the second world war, recalls the assignment. “I don’t remember asking him to shoot colour, but I was glad that he did – otherwise I couldn’t have done that story,” he said.

Now 97, Morris went on to become the first executive editor of the Magnum photo agency that Capa set up with a small band of colleagues, including Cartier-Bresson.

Pablo Picasso playing in the water with his son Claude, Vallauris, France, 1948Pablo Picasso playing in the water with his son Claude, Vallauris, France, 1948. Photograph: Robert Capa/International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos”When Capa returned from Russia,” recalls Morris, “the 1947 trip with Steinbeck, he invited me to his hotel room to look at his photos. He showed me a big stack of his black-and-white prints. When I asked if he had any colour shots, he said he hadn’t looked at those yet. So together we went through his strips of colour shots, and from those I found the one possible cover photo that the magazine needed to play that story big.”

With the colour photographs coming to light at last, a new picture of their creator may also begin to emerge, of a creative force not quite so embedded in the trauma of human conflict.

“The exhibition is about bringing his colour to life, what he did with colour, in the later part of his career,” says Cynthia Young. “It was as much about reinventing himself as a photojournalist when he was not covering wars and political conflicts. It was a real challenge for him.”

Capa in Color, the International Centre of Photography, New York, 31 January-4 May 2014. Later venues to be announced. www.icp.org

Shooting Film: Interesting Portraits of Celebrities with Rolleiflex TLR Cameras

Shooting Film: Interesting Portraits of Celebrities with Rolleiflex TLR Cameras.


Without any doubt was the introduction in 1929, of the first Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex (TLR), a sensation: an as ingenious as simple principle that quickly made the Rolleiflex THE must have professional camera all over the world. Producing high quality 6×6 cm square negatives in a compact very easy to operate camera, with the best lens available.

Ther was no photographer who would not master one, no apprentice who would not wish to own one. For the professional, the Rolleiflex was like a gift from heaven, it meant a radical change in his/her creative work. Being able to work fast with a large size negative, light weight and superior quality made the choice as simple as important. There was no newspaper, no magazine, no photographic book that would not have some Rolleiflex photos in their publications. For decades, Rolleiflex cameras would have a decisive effect on photographic history. Many world-famous images originated from that small piece of fine mechanical art made bij the factory from Franke and Heidecke in Braunschweig, Germany.

Rolleiflex is the name of a long-running and diverse line of high-end cameras originally made by the German company Franke & Heidecke, and later Rollei-Werk. The “Rolleiflex” name is most commonly used to refer to Rollei’s premier line of medium format twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras. (A companion line intended for amateur photographers, Rolleicord, existed for several decades.) However, a variety of TLRs and SLRs in medium format, and zone focus, and SLR 35 mm, as well as digital formats have also been produced under the Rolleiflex label. The 120 roll film Rolleiflex series is marketed primarily to professional photographers. Rolleiflex cameras have used film formats 117 (Original Rolleiflex), 120 (Standard, Automat, Letter Models, Rollei-Magic, and T model), and 127 (Baby Rolleiflex).

Here’s a collection of interesting portraits of celebrities with Rolleiflex TLR cameras:

Albeto Amarilla with a Rolleiflex in Imago Mortis, 2009.


Alexa Chung and a Rolleiflex – shot for INStyle magazine.


American novelist John Steinbeck standing beside wife, writer Elaine Andersen, who is using Rolleiflex camera around neck in Venice, Italy, 1947.


Benedict Cumberbatch with Rolleiflex 3.5F and Misha Handley in Parade’s End.


Cary Grant with a Rolleiflex and Deborah Kerr


Christian Bale


Doris Day with a Rolleiflex in 1953


Edward Norton


Elisabeth Taylor with a Rolleiflex 3.5E


Fred Astaire with a Rolleiflex and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, 1957.


Nicole Kidman as iconic American photographer Diane Arbus in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, 2006.


Gary Cooper with a Rolleiflex D, 1949


George Harrison with (left to right) a Nikon F, a Kodak Retina IIS and his Rolleiflex, c. 1960s


Grace Kelly, Monte Carlo 1972.


James Dean posing Pier Angeli for a photo with his Rolleiflex in 1954.


James Dean sitting in window well inside his apartment. New York, 1954.


James Franco as James Dean in James Dean, August 2001.


John F. Kennedy is pictured with his wife Jackie and sister-in-law Ethel Kennedy in 1954.


Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Fire Over England, 1937.


Liz Taylor with a Rolleiflex.


Marilyn Monroe with a Rolleiflex in Canada, 1953.


Morrissey with a Rolleiflex on a Vespa.


Natalie Portman with a Rolleiflex 2.8GX.


Paul McCartney, c. 1960s


Prince Andrew, aged nine, talks with photographer Joan Williams about her camera in 1969.


Prince Charles with a Rolleicord in 1952.


Richard Avedon and Fred Astaire in Paris, 1956.


Richard Avedon and Sophia Loren, New York, 1966.

Beginner’s guide to photographic films

The vast majority of photographer’s nowadays use digital cameras due to the ease of use, instant preview gratification, straight forward storage, the ease of making many copies and sharing, and many other reasons. But even so, many remain faithful to film and swear by it mainly because of its high quality and dynamic range, nostalgic and true feeling, as well as lower equipment cost.

With film, it all comes down to an emulsion with silver components that act as a coat on which images are recorded, and it has made significant improvements in quality and characteristics since the early days when it was used.

Emulsion is a light-sensitive coating on photographic paper or film that consists of fine grains of silver halide salts (suspended in gelatin) with variable crystal sizes that determine the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film. When film emulsion is exposed to light it forms an invisible image, from which a visible one can later be extracted through a series of chemical processes during development.

The size, shape and closeness in position these silver halide salts have directly affects the size of grain and film sensitivity to light, from fine grain (less sensitive to light) to coarse grain (more sensitive to light).

Film mainly falls into one of two categories: color film and black and white film. With color film, the image is more like what the eye sees and relates to in reality, but one must be careful of major color cast and hue variations. With black and white film, the image is more of an interpretation of reality. It requires more thought when it comes to light and image components (such as forms, shapes, texture … etc), but is more forgiving in terms of exposure.

Once a film is processed, the image can be printed on chemically coated paper, as well as scanned for further digital manipulation and sharing online, then digitally stored.

Film Size

The most popular color as well as black and white film size is the 35mm film, which is considered full frame. Cameras usually create 24 x 36mm frames on a long roll of film, with enough length for 12, 24 or 36 frames.

It is also known as 135 film which is a term Kodak introduced, and comes as rolls packed in light-tight metal cassettes which allows for loading in day light. 35mm film can be processed in all labs everywhere, and 35mm cameras, lenses and equipment are the most available of all film camera types.

A larger film size is the 120 medium format film and comes backed in opaque paper and tightly rolled on a plastic spool. 220 film is the same size as 120, but lacks the paper backing allowing more film to fit on the spool. The lack of protection means that most medium format cameras are not equipped to handle 220..

Medium format film is shot in many aspect ratios depending on the camera or frame insert used, with the most popular being 6Ă—4.5cm, 6x6cm, and 6x7cm formats.

6Ă—4.5cm is a rectangular format. The actual image size of this format is about 56 x 42 mm, with 16 exposures per 120 roll.

The slightly larger 6x6cm format is a square format. The final image can later be cropped to a more preferred format (with a vertical or horizontal orientation). Actual image size of this format is 56 x 56 mm, with 12 exposures per 120 film roll.

Larger format cameras exist, including 6x7cm, 6x9cm, 6x12cm and even 6x17cm. These cameras are less common, but can produce stunning images.

Sheet film is typically large film format that comes in separate sheets instead of rolls. These sheets are packed in boxes as 10, 25, or 50 sheets per box. Most common sheet film sizes are 4Ă—5 inches and 8Ă—10 inches, though other sizes can also be found.

Sheet films are fitted into holders and inserted into the camera so that exposures can be made. Each sheet has an edge-notching on one side which helps the photographer determine which direction the film should be at when inserting and changing in the dark.

When the exposure is made, the holder along with the film are removed from the camera, and another new sheet is inserted for the next shot.

Film Sensitivity to Colors

A film’s sensitivity to colors is set during the manufacturing process, and it differs between color film and black and white (monochromatic) film.

In black and white film, the emulsion is usually sensitized to all colors of the visible spectrum and even to shorter ultra-violet (UV) wavelengths as well. This, of course, is different from what the human eye is naturally accustomed to and sees.

In color film, emulsion is made in multiple layers stacked up one on top of the other so that part is sensitive to blue only, part is sensitive to blue and green, and part is primarily sensitive to red color. Most manufactured color films are set to give an accurate color balance under day light shooting.

Film Speed

Film speed is usually expressed in the US-based ASA rating or the European-based DIN rating. For all intents and purposes, ASA is identical to ISO rating. Film speed serves the exact same purpose that the ISO does in digital photography.

The higher the film speed (commonly known as fast film), the more sensitive to light it is and the coarser image grain will be. The lower the film speed is (commonly known as slow film), the less sensitive to light it is and the finer image grain will be.

Grain in film photography is the equivalent to noise in digital photography, though grain is sometimes considered to have an aesthetic appeal and sometimes even sought for its interesting visual effect.

In general, film grain affects the sharpness and fine details of the image with higher grain sometimes breaking continuous tonal gradation and edge contrast.

The main challenge for film manufacturers is increasing film speed thus making it more sensitive to light, without increasing the graininess and decreasing the sharpness of the image, so as to preserve minute image details and local contrast.

Professional and Non-Professional Film

The main difference between professional and non-professional film is that professional film is designed to give its optimum performance upon leaving the factory and should be refrigerated immediately until used. It should also be processed as soon as being exposed.

Non-professional, or amateur, film on the other hand is designed in such a way to allow for extra storage time while being kept at camera shops and at home or the studio until exposed. It can be stored at room temperature, and doesn’t have to be processed as soon as being exposed.

Professional film is slightly more expensive than non-professional film for the same film speed and size. Non-professional film is by no means inferior to professional film. Each type has its own uses, purposes, and audience with non-professional film being used by professionals all the time.

In each case, some of the most common causes of damage to film are humidity, storage in bright light or exposure to chemical fumes. Color film and fast film are particularly more prone to damage than black and white film and slow film. In general, if you keep the film sealed in the fridge, it should be fine even past its expiration date sometimes.

Keep in mind that film once taken out of the fridge should warm up to room temperature. Un-packaging the film and shooting too soon might cause condensation to form and ruin the film. Also when shooting outdoors in cold weather, make sure you keep the film warm in your pocket until it is time to load and shoot.

If film is not processed straight after exposure make sure you keep it in a dry, cool, dark place away from humidity and bright light, such as in a closet. If you want to put it back in the fridge, make sure you seal it in an air-tight box or a zip foil bag with a packet of silica gel.


Digital photography has taken the world by storm lately, and more and more photographers have been switching to the new trend, some of whom may never look back.

To others however, film remains the real deal. Every medium has its own strengths and weaknesses. In the end, it is always up to the individual and their taste to decide which way to go. It doesn’t really have to be one way or the other, though. Whether you like film or you like digital, you can still experiment and play with both.


Source: http://photo.tutsplus.com/articles/hardware/a-complete-beginners-guide-to-photographic-film/