I’m working on shipping out 13 Nikonos I’s & II’s this week. We’d appreciate any support that can be given to help cover shipping costs. Tonight I’ll be in the darkroom printing 5x7’s. I’ll be sending 5 prints to anyone that chooses to participate, you pick the price, I’ll mail the prints.
A project with which they want to pay tribute to Nikonos cameras, designed especially for underwater photography by Jacques Cousteau and engineer Jean de Wouters.
They have included works of different contemporary photographers who have been using these special analog cameras, which have been gone hand in hand in the world of classic surfing and its culture.
The first show of this project will take place during Quasimoto Surf’s Up Invitational on 11, 12 and 13 October in Burriana, Castellón, Spain.
Quasimoto Surf’s Up Invitational is a Retro Surf Culture reunion placed in Burriana, a city on the east coast in the Mediterranean Sea.
The festival is a perfect match between all the loggers retro surf culture lovers of 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. Also lovers of all the revival of what was called in the 90’s, Longboard Traditional or Classic Style on old and heavy boards with single fins, and up to the powerful New Old School of our days, called the Logging Generation.
Every year the festival hosts a collective exhibition that celebrates the culture of surfing, in which different photographers, illustrators and artists from all over the world have participated.
It has shown works of many different disciplines, from painting to photography, through drawing or lettering.
The exhibition always has a special place within the wooded area where the festival is held outside the water.
This year artinwreck, regular curator of the Quasimoto exhibition has joined forces with It’s Only Water and OHZ to organize together this project that can be seen during the festival and later in different Spanish and European cities.
For more information
A few Months back a Fuji HD-R 38mm f/2.8 fell into my hands. I brought it on my annual Alaska fishing trip which historically ends up being cold & wet. Camera feel is solid, its a plastic camera but built pretty tough. on camera flash idea is pretty cool. i need to get out with it in less light and see how it does. My only big complaint is how small the viewfinder was. it would be impossible to use underwater with a mask on.
Film, Even Photography has been tough for me lately. I just haven’t had the drive to get out and shoot like i have in the past. On a random whim we drove up to the wedge and snapped off a few, Nothing special but just getting out and shooting is progress.
Nicole is a 26 year old photographer and makeup artist from Connecticut. She works primarily with film and her favorite cameras are her Nikonos V, Hasselblad 500cm and her various Polaroids. She studied photography in high school under professional photographer Laurie Klein - student of the great Ansel Adams, and later studied math and environmental science in college. Nicole is a brand new resident of Lincoln, Nebraska and is a huge fan of her Shiba Inu named Gracie Rose, road tripping and camping. She would one day love to own a hippie van for endless photo adventuring.
How did you first hear about the Nikonos Project?
I distinctly remember when I first discovered Nikonos cameras, and then the Nikonos Project. I was browsing online and stumbled across a blog post from a Connecticut photographer who had shared photos of her children playing in the water. Taken in beautiful summertime light, I remember the images having a rich character and grain to them, and upon reading further, she talked about her love of shooting with a Nikonos V. I looked up the camera and found the Nikonos Project website and spent the rest of the evening reading through every single blog post and pouring over the instagram feed. I knew this idea was something I wanted to be part of, but didn’t want to wait to get on the official loan list. So the next day I went on Ebay and found a guy in Hawaii that was selling a Nikonos V with a 35mm lens, the SB-105 flash and a Pelican case for a great deal. I got a fresh set of o-rings with grease and was ready to go!
What was your first time like shooting underwater?
Sadly, my first time shooting underwater with the Nikonos was a complete failure. I wanted to do a practice run before I shot an actual project with it, so I had some friends meet me at a lake. Unfortunately the lake water was far from pristine as it hosted an excessive amount of summer boating activity. The water was clouded with silt that had been churned up from all of the motors, and I could barely see my own hands with goggles on. We had no backup plan, so I experimented and shot half the roll with flash and half without. After I got the scans back, I had 36 images of fuzzy green/brown murk. I learned pretty fast that having clear(ish) water is fairly essential for getting any sort of shot, but it just made me want to experiment more.
What is one of your favorite places to bring your Nikonos?
I think my favorite outdoor location to take my Nikonos is to the Delaware River in Layton, New Jersey. It’s a sleepy little spot nestled within the Delaware Water Gap and it’s home to an amazing craft school called ‘Peters Valley School of Craft’. I’ve been going there every summer for the past 7 years to assist with photography workshops, and most of the evenings end up being spent in the river with friends. The area holds some heavy local history, so shooting film in that sort of environment has a special connection and nostalgia to me, almost as if I’m honoring the valley’s past by stepping back in time with my process.
What is your favorite part about shooting underwater?
For me, the best part about shooting underwater is the feeling of complete removal from space and time. When fully submerged I feel like I’m suspended in some sort of alternate reality, an aqueous vacuum where everything superfluous just comes to a halt. I often shoot after dark, so the combination of being underwater and in complete darkness feels otherworldly yet extremely natural to me. It’s sensory depriving in an almost meditative way. You’ve lost sight, breath and conventional gravity, and it almost forces you to become hyper-aware of your energy and the way the water moves along your skin. The sound and sensation of being suspended never gets old, it’s something that still awes me after all this time.
How would you describe the style and direction of your work?
The work that I am most proud of making with my Nikonos is my underwater figures series. It’s been described as quiet, ethereal, soft and feminine. I enjoy shooting after dark so that the background fades to shadow and removes all sense of place and environment. I’m interested in creating a narrative within images and I’ve chosen dreamy color palettes, soft focus and tight cropping as some of the elements to tie the photos together.
What are your tips for people that want to try shooting in this style?
My biggest tip for trying out this style is to find a friend/model who is extremely comfortable in the water! If your subject can’t stay underwater for more than a few seconds you’re going to have a problem. It’s hard to look natural underwater in general, not to mention that they’re probably cold and draped in some sort of flowy cloth that makes it difficult to move. So find a strong swimmer that is comfortable holding their breath and you’ll be on the right track. I like to start shooting about a half hour before the sun goes down so I can get varying levels of sunlight and duskiness before it goes dark completely. A light source is essential at night, I’ve used the SB-105 on TTL as well as on it’s three power settings. I’m also interested in trying a constant light source and will probably pick up a dive light at some point. Using the pool lights for back light or fill can also give some interesting effects, I like to experiment with lighting because I feel like it’s an area where you can get super creative. Settings wise I normally shoot around f8 to be safe (I can hardly ever see to focus) and I wouldn’t choose anything lower than 400 ISO. I think the best tip would be to experiment while keeping notes so that when you get the scans back you can see what did and didn’t work.
I chose to pursue this series with film because I think an analog process lends itself well to the serenity of being underwater. It’s so much slower for me and I’m forced to truly be present in the whole experience instead of breaking out of the flow to check the back of my camera a hundred times. It’s feels simple and pure, there are no fancy housings, I don't change out lenses and I’m not worried about an image being technically perfect or crisp.
What are your future goals with film and the Nikonos?
Future goals with my film journey and my underwater work include starting to process my negatives, try my hand at scanning and just make more time to shoot! I’ve signed up for some courses at a local community college and they have a full color darkroom as well as black and white, alt process and wet plate classes! I’m looking forward to learning more about technique and having my hand involved in the whole process from start to finish, so the future seems pretty exciting to me!
This Nikonos V came to us by way of an Old timer donation. I'm working to secure a few of the images that it caught on trips to Bali, Caribbean and Costa rica. It will be swimming out with me tomorrow morning at SanO.
In a world of instantaneous and cheap gratitude it should behoove you to take a step back and breathe. Not all needs to be instant with a flick of a finger or a command by voice. Some processes are meant to take time. Pace is no longer valued but when it is used, conscious care is taken and a project is given proper respect it tends to grow into something more. Those of us who choose to delve into less certain outcomes that shooting film is canny for have an understanding for this, photography for us isn’t caught up in pixels rather bound to our negatives and this drive to create something more is the basis of this book. In the past years gratification for the modern day photographer is shallowly quantified by a post that will be seen as an image no bigger than your palm in hopes that a satisfactory amount of people will spend about a second looking at it before tapping the like button or even better giving you their following. Our work should be treated with more respect, let it evolve for its self past its infant stage and become something cohesive and tangible.
“Taco Tuesday” a collection of images that have been compiled over a stretch of a few years triggered by receiving a Nikonos V as a gift from a friend. Shortly after the move west, Erik found himself on the doorstep of the ocean where a couple days of learning how to swim in waves turned into one of his most desired activities and now a mainstay when the waves get good. The imagery is an honest reflection of one’s first foray with early mornings chasing waves to late nights blowing off steam in a sundrenched Southern California.
Come on down to 2038 Anaheim Ave Costa Mesa, CA 92627 at 7pm on Saturday December 9th for a good photos, a good hang and a musical appearance by our buddies in Vinnie & The Hooligans.