In an age when digital photos from camera phones are the rage, a large-format film camera seems nostalgic. For Maitland photographer Angela Robbins Hull, it's a passion.
Although she also works professionally with digital cameras and in color, Robbins Hull also uses an older technique for her fine art photography. Using a large-format camera, she creates black and white negatives that are four inches by five inches. The 4x5 negatives are almost four times the size of a 35mm negative and they create sharper, crisper prints with exceptional tonal range.
Her 4x5 photos were a large part of her display that won first place in fine art in the Maitland Spring Festival of the Arts last month.
It takes a lot more time to make a photo with a 4x5 camera than with a smaller digital camera. Robbins Hull has to set the camera on a tripod, carefully compose and focus the camera and load film one exposure at a time. One afternoon of shooting can result in only a dozen photos.
"You have to really pay attention and think about everything that is in the frame," she said. "It makes you put so much more time and love and effort" into the photo.
She also does portraits with the large camera and is planning a future project. Her subjects are impressed with the lens bellows and the dark cloth the photographer hides under to focus.
"When someone stands in front of a 4x5 . . . they feel really special," she said.