“TtV” Photography

original "57 xelfogra" boxearly color

extremely sky-lit signdinosaurs

watching fall roll inmaking room for snow

hey, nice shirtwaving flower

Well, I’ve been bitten by the “Through the Viewfinder” (TtV)
photography bug!

TtV is simply the act of taking a photograph with one camera — usually digital — of the image displayed upon the viewing lens of another camera — usually a vintage twin lens top-view camera (such as the one depicted upon the red box in the first photo above).

That’s basically it. I learned about the technical fundamentals of the process at this flickr group. It’s a fun & enthusiastic bunch! When I joined I was the 4000th member.

There are really only three minor complications to the process of TtV: First, you likely need to have a ‘macro’ setting or capability for your shooting camera. (Because even though your portrait subject may be a distant mountain, what you’re really taking a picture of is a small reflection of that mountain, which is only inches from your camera lens.)

The second minor complication is getting your hands on a “twin lens reflex” (TLR) top-view camera. They’re not rare, but you just have to find one. Fortunately, eBay makes that simple, so within days one can be delivered right to your door for less than $20.

And the final complication is the need to eliminate glare and reflections on the view-screen you’re trying to photograph…

Presenting, “THE CONTRAPTION!“: TtV practitioners put their ingenuity to the test by engineering a light-blocking apparatus to span the distance between their digital camera shooting lens and the vintage camera’s view-screen. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes and solutions for accomplishing this, using materials ranging from toilet paper tubes or cereal boxes to gutter spout materials for home exteriors. I’ve made three variations so far, and will probably try more in the future. You can check out other people’s craftsmanship HERE.

As wonderful as digital photography is, it’s almost too perfect, and too universal to feel personal. Shooting TtV-style opens the door to happy accidents, and each vintage base-camera has its own unique aesthetic fingerprint to make the images one-of-a-kind. They’re usually dusty and bunged up, so that adds a retro quality to the imagery. Some have interesting blurs. Some have interesting vignette shadows. Some have interesting distortions. Most have their own special flourish of grit and grime.

And with prominence these days of panorama-shaped image dimensions, the square format is somewhat novel as well. The black, television-style border from the viewer lens is the final touch.

All in all it’s simply a fun and creative challenge! You can check out my beginning endeavors on MY FLICKR SITE.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 Inspi/Reference