Dear rangefinder enthusiasts and classic photographers,
Thank you for allowing us to share some news and random thoughts with you.
Rolling Out Our New Parallax Look
We’ve overhauled, remodelled and transformed our newsletter and we hope it meets with your approval. But before we tell you about it, I would like to apologize to anyone who had opted out of receiving Parallax only to find you are back on the mailing list. Migrating the old mailing list database to the new was not an entirely trouble-free exercise. You will however find links to unsubscribe and/or manage your subscription preferences in the footer of this newsletter or here. Our old mailing list did not include language preferences but now you can choose your preferred language via the Manage your Subscription link in the footer.
While the facelift was overdue, the new engine is where the real innovation lies. Mike Hayes of mikesimagination.net – a great photographer and adventurer in his own right whose work we featured in the past – is the person behind this upgrade in design and function. Mike also has an active and most interesting blog about photography, sea kayaking, bicycling and life in general at www.seasurfdirt.com.
Chad Tobin: Discovering Tokyo One Step At A Time
Question: What do you get when you drop a Cape Breton street photographer onto the packed streets of Tokyo for three weeks?
Answer: An incredible collection of photographs that create a cohesive and intimate portrait of a bustling, 24-hour megalopolis. Ranging from reflective to eye catching, the pictures overflow with cultural belonging that belies the diversity of subjects.
Crowded streets, sensory overload, and a concrete metropolis describe the rhythm of the Tokyo experience. Canadian photographer Chad Tobin walked the streets of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Nihonbashi, awash in neon glow and armed with his Leica M.
With a strong fascination and curiosity driven by years of movies and imagery from Japan, Tobin decided to take the trip with one of his closest friends, who is also a photographer. “We kind of got into a routine and flow of shooting on our own and meeting up later in the evening for dinner.” Tobin explained that being able to discuss and process what they saw each day helped them combat the isolation that many people often experience on their first trip to Tokyo.
Alternating between different areas of the city, Tobin would spend his days chasing light and moments, walking with no agenda and purpose. “I wanted to be open to the city and let the project emerge on its own.” Tobin navigated the narrow alleyways, open parks and dark nightlife in search of small sub-cultures to which he could attach himself, in hopes of telling a narrative of a different side of Japan.
Golden Gai a district of Shinjuka, provided a perfect backdrop of dark characters, poets, and artists for the photographer. Using a Leica M240 with 35mm f2 Summicron ASPH allowed Tobin not to have to think about gear selection. “I like to keep things simple and not let anything get in the way.” Walking around for an 8-12 hour period demanded a light setup, and using the rangefinder system worked well. Zone focusing allowed the photographer to work fast and be less intimidating in situations where people were aware of the camera.
As a result of the trip, Tobin produced two small photo zines, with one focused on color images and one in monochrome. “I wanted to see Tokyo in both mediums and tell two different narratives.” In the color work, themes of consumer consumption, work, fashion subculture, and the mirrored-self permeate the 36-page zine. The second zine, titled “Mono no aware,” refers to a Japanese saying that describes the passing of transient moments. A darker nightlife theme is present along with the sobering power of daylight, which reminds the viewer of the engine of Japan and its relentless pace.
How Can You Improve On What’s Nearly Perfect?
I’m the first to applaud the renewal and continuous upgrading of the M lineup, but Jeez Louise, the older versions of the Summicron 28 and 35 are no laggards when it comes to performance. Starting with the Summicron 35 ASPH – a cornerstone for those wishing to take advantage of the dynamics of Leica M photography – other than a new metal lens hood which may or may not suit your purpose, I cannot see any measurable improvement in form or function over its predecessor.
The Summicron 28 ASPH however, was overdue for an upgrade in build quality. Seeing around that asinine, behemoth lens hood, plus the inadequate fastening of the front lens barrel, caused untoward headaches for both customers and me. With the added bonus of superior image quality, the new lens design with properly proportioned hood, puts these problems firmly in the past . Of course, for people who strive for the ultimate in bokeh, the 11-blade aperture ring will reward them with the Holy Grail of soft and creamy out-of-focus areas.
I am legitimately excited about the 28mm Elmarit f2.8 ASPH. Gone are the old version’s weaknesses of curvature of field and lack of contrast. What we have instead is the most diminutive lens in the M stable now at par with other M lenses, offering the highest resolution and cutting-edge performance. This represents an undeniable advancement in image quality and will make the Elmarit my lens of choice for street photography.
The avenues and boulevards of Montreal have quite the reputation for potholes and heaved pavement, but they’ve also carved out a strong claim for supporting the world’s-finest street photographers. Hearty congratulations to consummate professional Yves Beaulieu and passionate amateur Denis Rancourt for being selected among the 2015 winners of the Photo District News Street Photography 2015 Competition.
Over the years I’ve known Yves, he has become a cherished friend of the boutique. I’ve grown to admire his seemingly serendipitous approach to his photography. His pictures always give us a sense of good nature and humour, showing snippets of life that surprise and delight. A personal favourite, one of the photos in his winning portfolio shows the feet of two tourists peeking out below a postcard rack. It is a brilliantly composed image on the fly, and shows us why Yves is a deserved winner with a leg up on the competition!
The interplay of light and shadow may be the recipe for striking, large-format still lives, but Denis Rancourt’s attention to brightness and darkness gives his street scenes a precision and radiance that belie the spontaneity and fleeting nature of this work. Whether under the strong sun at Montreal’s new planetarium, at a Mile End dépanneur in the evening or inside the Museum of Fine Arts, Denis’ photographs are certain to gleam and dazzle and, most importantly, glow long after the moment has passed.
Fuji X: Your Chance to Shine the Light on Winter
Fujifilm has a proud history of producing sought-after rangefinder cameras. In 2011, the Fuji X-100 brought that wealth of experience into the digital age and set the table for the complete line of X cameras that followed.
In anticipation of the availability of the X-Pro 2 with 24 MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor, Fujifilm Canada and Camtec Photo invite you to participate in our Celebrate Winter Light Event and Contest. Win a first prize of a $750 gift certificate towards Fujifilm products, a second prize of a $250 gift certificate towards Fujifilm products, or a third prize of a $150 gift certificate towards Fujifilm products. For contest rules click here.
Please mark your calendar: our Fuji Event and Photo Walk will be held at the 26 Notre-Dame Est boutique on Saturday, March 12 at 9 am. We hope to see you there.
Enjoy what's left of this fabulous, mild winter and spring's imminent arrival.
Always looking forward to your comments.
Jean Bardaji and Daniel Wiener