Large Format Photography in Paris…Part #2 – The People Behind And With The 4X5.

In continue for the last post about the experience of taking the 4X5 and picturing paris.

now im going to dedicate it for the people i met along the way. Not a lot but was totally worth to pull out the camera and take it with the 4X5 instead of digital.

Thank you for the creative people that took a part: The makeup artists: Allison Depp and Michelle Catillon, Alex,Irina,Anna and Martina from Metropolitan Models, Pierre from Major Models Milan, Paolo Wutrich, David Ravet, and my beautiful girlfriend, Sidney Kraemer.

Beautiful Sidney in the streets of Paris. © Benjo Arwas

Actor, David Ravet. © Benjo Arwas

Model, Alex K. © Benjo Arwas

Model, Irina N. © Benjo Arwas

Actor/Model, Paolo Wutrich. © Benjo Arwas

Shooting people with a 4X5 or any kind of format rather than 35mm is always great experience. you feel your hand in the photograph and psychology wise, your subject/model is aware for something different (for nowadays) and giving you the stage to create.

back in the days, all the photographs were created on large/medium format so it wasn’t really matter. people were used to it. at some place after 35mm was invented it got vanished and “old-school”. today, when im bringing my camera infront of 18 years old model, or even actors for portraits, they have NO idea what they standing infront of. thats my proof.

It’s fun for the interaction, it’s fun for the creation, the quality is equivalent to 60-90 MP. The tonality and grain of the film is just on the spot.

Here are couple of photographs i took of the models with the actual cameras, as a part of the story. really random decision on set just to push it inside and to change the photograph idea/concept.

Pierre @ Major Models, Milan. © Benjo Arwas

Martina @Metropolitan Models, Paris. © Benjo Arwas

Anna @Metropolitan Models, Paris. © Benjo Arwas

Alex @Metropolitan Models, Paris. © Benjo Arwas

Richard Avedon:

“Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of me. My concern is… the human predicament; only what I consider the human predicament may simply be my own.”

I kind of feel the same way. The portraits i’m taking are eventually my self portrait and what iv’e felt this day, or what inspired me. The people i’m shooting are my inspiration and they completing my story. i can;t take a model and force her/him to do something that it’s not in their nature. it’s must to be in their natural environment, i see that in them and trying to capture the most of it. even sides of them that they were never aware of. Thats my fun and passion to photograph people.

With actors/actresses is more easy because of their nature is to broadcast personality and characters. a benefit to a model is to have this kind of gem.

Thank you for reading and please follow up for the next part about the 4X5 polaroids and transparents i made in Paris.

PS – if you haven’t seen the Part #1 of the post, CLICK HERE

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any questions/comments/feedbacks.



Power Of Beauty

One of my recent projects and the reasons that im a photographer. i just addicted to lights, shapes, textures, and maybe now to freckles?

Beauty editorial with gorgeous Jessica Ayers from Mayhem Model Management and the magician makeup artist: Berenice Gallegos.

Inspired by ALLURE and the european feeling that i had this morning.

Took place in Santa Barbara, California.

  • Model: Jessica Ayers @ Mayhem Model Management
  • Makeup and hair: Berenice Gallegos
  • Photo Assistant: Sidney Kraemer

Photography, Cinematography and Editing by myself.

Please don’t hesitate to ask me any kind of question and feedbacks, comments are much appreciated.



Contact Sheet, Kodak VS ILFORD and Metering issues – Film never dies.

Recently, Late 2011, before the holidays,  iv’e been photographed Chris Orwig again.     He asked me to take his new headshoots and it was my pleasure and even flattering to me. really appreciated that.

Chris is a busy busy tutor, artist and most of it a family person (beyond all), we tried to make an actual setup date for the shoot but he never had time to being photographed (!) So i had a solution…as a saying from the bible: “If moses wil not go up to bring the writing scripts from Sinay mountain, we will bring the the mountain to him” – it meant to be anyway.

I talked to my buddy, Michael Shainblum, and decided to go and surprise Chris in his office just 7 minutes before his last class of the semester. Michael helped me a lot on this shoot. Thank you.

The contact sheet

The contact sheet allows you, your client, and other people to see the exposures of the negatives in a better way than the negatives by themselves. Than will guide and help to select the best images, expressions, exposures, and to mark off the blurred, over/under exposed  and non-usable images. the others will be scanned and printed at the proper size that you need.

Not always we have money to pay for a contact sheet, so what can i do instead? the best way is to build your own light table with tungsten or daylight bulbs and photograph the negatives, than to invert at photoshop and place them whenever you want, in your design. As well, to do brush strokes in the computer.

Thats only for digital use of course. if its for a client is more than recommend to pay the $6-8 and to have a contact sheet printed at the labs. Organized by the numbers etc.

Chris Orwig's Contact sheet © Benjo Arwas

Struggling without a light-meter, it’s not obvious at all.

I had no lightmeter so i just made a BDE 16 calculation from the brightest sun beam outside, through the open shade (-/+ F5.6), through the window and indoors (-/+ F2.8), and finally set it up +2 stops because i was shooting ISO 400. Ending up shooting all the time F5.6-F4 @ 125th-45th. I photographed him in the hallways of Brooks Institute at Santa Barbara, using only window lights, and had Michael pushing sometimes a reflector to open up a bit  the shadows.

Kodak TRIX 400 Vs ILFORD HP5 400 (Black and white film)

I was trying to do a comparison like that long time ago, but now had the opportunity to use it in a nice and proper way to actually show the examples. it will be short and direct so pay attention.

ILFORD HP5 is not in the same scale of the Kodak TriX. The Kodak is SHARP, the CONTRAST in the exposure is amazing, the TRANSITIONS between the highlights and shadows are great. Definitely my favorite Black and White film. i love the contrast, the sharpness and a lot of other stuff that i can already predict while im shooting, and know how to solve problem if i find any during the shoot. The kodak shoots with chris you can recognize by the black film boders on the contact sheet.

On the other side, The ILFORD HP5 is a low contrast film. i find a lot of issues with ILFORD. first of all, after developing, always noticing a licks around the boarder and smudge on the negatives… weird. as well, its obvious and the ILFORD images on the contact sheet you can notice by the gray-white-black film borders..which showing the low contrast and the lack of sharpness in the frame.

I will suggest ilford HP5 for more fine-art work, low contrast, “gray and white” work and what ever the blacks are not a bit issue. The kodak will be great for portraiture, contrast images and where the dynamic range, details and transitions are more important.

Chris recently came out with a new book – “People”, and he’s working on couple of projects. Click here for more details.

his new book “People”is only $9.99 on ebay(!) must check it out – Click here!

if you have anything to add or to suggest, please don’t hesitate to comment or contact me!

Please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my bi-monthly newsletter! more details in the below links.



My Intro/Bio Film by Michael Shainblum

Special thanks to Michael Shainblum for doing my “Intro/Bio” Short film. Me and him going to work on more stuff soon, so stay tuned. Michael is a brilliant SD/SB/LA based artist who have a rare eye to small details in stills and video. you guys should keep your eyes on him and of course checkout his Vimeo/YouTube channels for all his art pieces.

Once in a while i’m wondering how people are react to art and photography and to the process? The process is our journey, and it’s never ends. my concept is pretty obvious, and because i’m living days and nights this process i’ll share with you who am i? it’s just for you guys to know that an images we are not taking, but creating. it’s a bit more than 1 “click”.

Filmed And Edited By Michael Shainblum.

For contact details and more of his videos/art and photography check the below links.

cheers and thank you for watching,


Visual Poetry And Beauty by Chris Orwig

Walking Inspiration…

If your’e an artist, business men, local surfer, teacher, mother, father or just a nomad that looking for some answers. Take this moment to watch and listen to this words by Chris Orwig at the TEDx America, 2011.

Strong words attached to simple, clean and story telling photographs. inspired and get inspired by others, it’s the world way to keep this routine of art. try something different and always know that theres beauty in each of us and all of us. the beauty is always around us, just need to stop and to listen to it.

The Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder.

Chris Orwig is a walking inspiration for a lot of established and emerging artists and photographers. Creating pictures that telling stories and as he always saying: “Visual Poetry”. Creating images of his family, friends, other inspirational people, surfers, musicians and what ever is beauty.

Chris was my instructor at Brooks Institute Of Photography and amazing how people are walking after him like a army of ants. Nonstop inspirational and motivating. passionate and spiritual. I got his book, he signed on it for memory and i got a few portraits of him with my RZ67 for memory.

Ill quote with his permission the introduction for the first part of his book: “Visual Poetry“:


“POETRY IS AS diverse as culture. certain poems are esoteric and abstract while others are concrete and easy to understand. And poems show up all over the place: in song lyrics, carved into the trunk of a tree, tattooed on the back of an arm, or spoken out lout at a cafe. Why then poetry and photography?

What the novelist says in 20,000 words, the poet says in 20. And after reading a poem we don’t just have more information, we have more experience. A good poem isn’t about reductionism. It is about reducing, simplifying, and deepening. A poem always gives more.

And poems are spare. With so little space, they require a distillation, which concentrates and intensifies their meaning and effect. Like evaporating seawater, where only the salt remains, those few lines communicate more. And the best photographs that i know follow this same trajectory”

This book is a 273 pages full with great photographs, guest speakers, inspirations, leading guides for better eye, creativity and techniques. The book shows how to See,Observe and Listen to the photograph, Abit from everything such as – portraits, kids, wedding, travel, action and outdoors, camera gear and how to become a professional.

Featuring great artists, Inspirations and photographers such as: Chase Jarvis, Erik Almas, Keith Carter, D&J Patitucci, Jeff Lipsky, John Paul Caponigro, Paul Liebhardt, Joe Curren, Ralph Clevenger, Todd Glase, Steve McCurry, Chris Rainier, Elizabeth Messina, Michael Costa, Jode Villa, Greag Lawer, Joyce Tenneson, Rodney Smith, Douglas Kirkland, John Sexton, Pete Turner and Marc Riboud.

In the near future i will post more about Chris.

Look on Chris WEBSITE follow him on Facebook, Twitter and his great and successful BLOG – flipside, where he sharing his recent work, family stories and inspirations.

and have you thought recently?

What or who is your inspiration?

Cheers and happy holidays,