This is a Guest Post from Olympus Visionary Gabrielle Motola:
M43 in Iceland: An Equal Difference (by Gabrielle Motola)
Sometime in 2011 I got into digital cameras through a very intelligent friend. My first one was a Panasonic GF1. I was completely skeptical to begin with and used it only some of the time, sticking to my film cameras the rest of the time. I was a die hard film person and very attached to the medium, form and function. I shot Voigtländers, Hasselblads, Mamiya 7s and one Leica M6 which I took this picture with.
In 2012 that same friend introduced me to micro four thirds cameras. Now I shoot almost nothing but M43. I owned a big digital SLR for a period of time opting for optical viewing over viewfinders and reassuring my clients with big bodies, but that was before the viewfinders got better and I wised up. These days I go in for big brains and small cameras. This was handy because over the past three years I made more than a dozen trips to Iceland to work on what began as a portrait series. It was especially helpful last fall when I travelled to Iceland in October for the final voyage to complete what became An Equal Difference, a book with 165 images and 20,000 words which I produced with the help of Kazoo Independent Publishing Services. They did the layout design, text editing, proofreading, and handled the printing of the book from the final files I produced.
For that I needed to bring an iMac workstation which I packed into a flight case along with my keyboard, mouse, colorimeter, tablet and pen, and portable hard drives. I also needed to take my regular shooting gear as I was still photographing people for the book. Since the airlines don’t afford you much weight or size these days and I don’t like putting glass in the hold I wanted to keep my camera gear in carry-ons along with my laptop, recorder and main hard drives. That aside I like to travel light whenever possible. Well that really didn’t happen for this trip but it wasn’t my camera gear weighing me down. I needed to pack clothes and supplies for the Icelandic weather and winter to last me nine months and books to read and look at.
Once the book was shot, written and edited I finalised the colour for the images. I used an i1Pro colorimeter with my iMac and the profile given to me by my printer to proof the colours before and after converting them to CMYK – a process which at first terrified me. I read several blogs, spoke to several book designers and photographers and got mixed messages. One photographer told me not to attempt the conversion, that I’d “fuck it up”. An experienced press person told me to leave it simply as a straight conversion, not think too much about it and it would be fine. That’s what I opted for. I wouldn’t attempt to technically advise on this workflow as I do not feel like an expert but what I found worked and I’m pleased with the results.
The printers did an amazing job not only with the print quality but with the entire book. The book is handsomely bound in dark blue cloth and has a silver foiled cover and spine, golden headband and a champagne ribbon. It is published by Restless Machinery and available worldwide through www.anequaldifference.com. If you are based in Iceland or visiting you can pick up a copy in local bookstores beginning in September. There is even a chapter about tourism in Iceland called “On Being a Guest”.
According to Dr Inga Dóra Sigfúsdóttir who wrote the foreword for the book, An Equal Difference is “no regular photography book. Neither is it a regular sociology book. It is both. And it is more. Philosophy. Sociology. Social activism. Art.”
The book is the amalgamation of my time spent speaking with and photographing forward thinking members of Icelandic society about just about everything. Iceland is statistically the most gender equal country in the world and has been for the past seven years. I wanted to know what that translated into in real world terms and what mentalities existed in Iceland and what some of the ideas they gave birth to were. The first one I heard about back in 2008 was their idea to feminise banking culture. I liked the use of the term feminise because it applies to everyone and removes gender blame and places the focus on behaviour. It also forces us to look at our ideas of gender and how society constructs them. The central vision in the book is that equality leads all of us to be more of who we are. Many of us do not fit perfectly into gender constructs and repress parts of ourselves and each other to do so which is a loss for us and our society. Equality which is a destination at the moment, leads to more intelligence and intelligent choices and creations. There are many stories in the book as well as observations, reflections and the photographs. Not just of people but of the land. How could I not? Iceland is a special kind of stunning and the land and weather certainly has an influence on the people and their outlook on life.
I used two OMD EM5s for the initial portrait series which began back in July 2013. Then using that series Olympus launched the OMD EM1 in London at the Loading Bay in Brick Lane. We enlarged around 20 photographs to A1 size mounted on reverse acrylic. They looked magnificent and any doubts I might have had then about the quality these small cameras can deliver vanished. That same series plus a new image of the 4th president of Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir hung in the Icelandic Embassy in London for all of 2015. One portrait from the later series of deputy MP and human rights activist, Freyja Haraldsdóttir, was accepted into the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2014.
For the the rest of the project I used the OMD EM1, later adding the OMD EM5 Mark II. I also converted one of my OMD EM5’s through Kolari Vision into an infrared camera and wound up using shots from that camera in the book. They are otherworldly and I look forward to experimenting more with that style in the future.
The portrait sessions were more like informal chats where I wasn’t directing the subject and so I often carried with me three bodies with three prime lenses picking up what I needed on the fly for whatever the situation required. I later cut my carry down to two cameras adding a 12-35mm zoom and keeping my 17mm for my main lens. I used the zoom for a lot of the landscapes because I would often travel out with just one body like I did on my skis this day in November 2015
One of the main things I love about small cameras is they get out of your way leaving more space for you and your subject. It is important to have the tools you feel are right for you to operate seamlessly. Because at the end of the day, portraiture is not about cameras. It is about connection.
That said cameras are like shoes. Find what you need for the situation and make sure you feel comfortable in them.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Olympus OM-D E-M5 (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 17mm f/1.8 (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder (Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay).
Western Digital and Custom Drives from Span.com
Apple iMac with Adobe Lightroom
X-Rite i1Display Pro Colorimeter
The Flight Case Company lightweight 27″ rolling case
An Equal Difference published by Restless Machinery is out now and available worldwide on www.anequaldifference.com ∆ ISBN 9780995485600 ∆ ©2016 G.S. Motola all rights reserved.
Eating vegetables looks tasty… when you shoot it with the Panasonic GH3 :) via http://www.jokodomus.com/de/
Today Gold Box deals at Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon US and BHphoto.
GX85 vs G7 (Mirrorlesscomparison).
Rolling Shutter versus Global Shutter (Explora).
Illustrated Photo Tips with Daniel Norton: Potato Chipping (Adorama Learning Center)
European Olympus ref. items list at Olympusmarket.
Martin Wallgren: “https://vimeo.com/178890152. Shot lots of footage with the GX80 this weekend in Jotunheimen, Norway for an upcoming biking documentary about Addison’s disease and about cycling for life.
For most of the shots I used the GX80 and Leica 12mm lens (pre-production), while some of the long shot slow-mo scenes I grabbed the GH4 because I only had one GX80 and didn’t have time to switch lenses lying in the trunk of the car on all four, pouring rain outside and bumpy mountain roads. ;)”
Siim Jänes: “https://vimeo.com/178956614. Late summer dessert. Panasonic GH4, Lumix 14-140 http://vimeo.com/178956614“
Олег Леонович: “G7 Cinematic video test https://vimeo.com/147110339“
The new Momo lens is now in Stock at BHphoto (Click here).
And those are the deals running today only:
$105.00 off Think Tank Photo CityWalker 30 Messenger Bags at BHphoto (Click here).
Caltar Photography Photo Video Continuous Lighting Kit at Amazon (Click here).
$20 off on the Lowepro StreamLine Sling Bag at BHphoto (Click here).
Camera Tripod, Kzon F560 Light Weight Portable Aluminium Travel Tripod With 360 Degree Ball Head at Amazon (Click here).
$60 off on the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Carbon Fiber Tripod at BHphoto (Click here).
Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Lens Spray Cleaner at Amazon (Click here).
At last things are starting to get exciting around the new GH5! As reported yesterday the camera will be sort of “pre-announced” at Photokina and ship in very early 2017 (probably January).
And now we got a first spec info from a trusted source:
1) The camera has no crop for 4K
2) 4:2:2 10 bits internal recording!!!!
That’s a HUGE news for filmmakers! Take that new Canon 5DmarkIV ;)
Panasonic has a press conference on September 19 where they will announce the new G80 (or G85 or whatever the final name will be), a new LX100 successor and show the GH5 prototype.
We have plenty of great stuff coming from both Olympus and Panasonic. To not miss any news you really HAVE TO subscribe our RSS feed, join our group on Facebook and follow our Tweets. This is not an invitation to follow 43rumors …it’s a threat ;)
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