maandag 14 juli 2014

second project - a twin lens reflex camera

cardboard sketch of the TLR camera

Simultaneous with the start of my Single Lens Reflex camera project, I began to develop a foldable Twin Lens Reflex camera, also for large format photography. My aim is to use this camera for architecture photography, therefore it has at least to shift a wide angle lens. The other requirements were that the camera should fold up to a reasonable small package and is that it would be usable for (relatively) quick handheld photography.

folding TLR open - and with lens board

The construction of the body is light and simple and will be made from wooden multiplex plate material. By the way, the mirror is not yet attached to the body. One of the more delicate works is the design of the wide angle bellows, which have to move in different directions without blocking parts of the image area and without conflicting with the second bellows.

two different bellows designs during tests

For a quick test I made two different bag bellows. One of the bellows was an extended version of a normal wide angle bellows. The second one was a doubled bag bellows, which required some extra stabilizers. 

a more or less 'classic' bag bellows

The classic version wasn't successful enough, as the single bag stretches too much, which deforms the side and pushes cloth to the inside. The double bag bellows worked a lot better. I knew on forehand that this design will need some inner construction that it will not sag down in the middle and it will need some tension to pull each bag to its board.

double bag bellows with elastic rubber bands

The next step is a wooden model with two double bellows to have a better idea of its efficiency.

all images © Norman Beierle

zondag 13 juli 2014

Large format SLR camera

cardboard model of a simple SLR camera - front view

It is still more a rudimentary sketch rather than an advanced camera to steal the show, but its simplicity is promising for me. I found a simple mechanism to cover the lens while the mirror is moving up and release the shutter immediately afterwards. For the precise position and movement of the rotating shutter I have to develop some more tests and prototypes and I also will have a closer look for the optical devices and the focussing mechanism.

cardboard model of a simple SLR camera - back view

In the end I want to make a (very) limited series of cameras in wood for 4x5" holders and maybe some larger formats on special request. In the next couple of weeks you will see (hopefully) the expected progress in usability and another camera models, I am developing right now. Together with Alex I made a short video to attract future investors for this project.


all images © Norman Beierle

donderdag 26 juni 2014


jump into the habor
It's almost a daily ritual to celebrate the nice weather with a jump into the water. This one was captured on an old Kodak T-Max 400 film, that was shot at 100 ISO and developed in Amaloco AM 74. The image was taken with a Contaflex SLR and a shutter speed of 1/300 second together with an aperture between 8 and 11. The Zeiss Ikon Contaflex - I have the Beta version with the Pantar lens without a light meter - is one of the few leaf shutter SLR's that was build for 36 mm film. Medium format SLR's with leaf shutter are more common, like the last analogue series from Hasselblad, Mamiya and Bronica. The main advantage to curtain shutters was that leaf shutters were easier to synchronize with flash light and fast shutter speeds.

PS.: the image is just a quick scan and has Newton rings as I scanned the negative through its acetate holder.

image © Norman Beierle, 2014

donderdag 5 juni 2014

multiple exposures

multiple exposure photograph of at least 25 frames
Something you can't do easily with a digital camera: multiple exposures. Of course you can bring layers together in photoshop, but most cameras lack the function of bringing 25 images in one frame during a nice weekend trip. Also most camera's can't simulate a 14 years old Kodak T-max 400 film, that was stored all the time in an attic.

Honestly I didn't expect just one single frame from the whole weekend myself. Last week I repaired an old Pentacon F camera, which I got as a rescue project from my brother once. One of the last parts that were missing was the rewind crank and I came across a leftover crank from a Praktica, that didn't needed too much work to function as a replacement. The only thing I forgot was that the winder spool was an older model, that wouldn't hold the film tight enough to transport it immediately and as the film was pretty old the sprocket holes were broken quickly. 

same multi-shot, vertical direction
I was wondering what kind of image I could get out of that almost black frame, as I could still see some structures with my magnifying glass. After adjusting the scanner and careful adjustment in the tonal curves I got a nice, almost surrealistic image with unexplainable structures. It reminds me of El Lissitsky's Studio portrait, he made in 1923 and of course Mario Bellusi's Modern Traffic from 1930.

all images © Norman Beierle

zaterdag 17 mei 2014

Leporellos and photo maps

examples of souvenir maps with photos
Another source of inspiration form my latest publication City Souvenirs is stored in a little shoe box, which is filled with small photo souvenirs and leporellos, which are harmonica-folded strips with images.

images from the map City of Hamburg
The small souvenir maps and leporellos have been largely available between 1910 and 1980. Normally they have dimensions of about 6,5 x 9 centimeters, contains ten to twenty "real photographs" in an cardboard envelop. The first one I have bought (back in 1978), was probably a small leporello with images of a stalactite cave that I visited during a school trip in the Swabian Alb area.

Over time I have collected some more souvenir maps, found on flee-markets or thrift shops and it seems that they are a European phenomenon. American leporellos I have seen were always twice as large and very colorful.

photos of The beautiful Bad Ems

Some souvenir maps have photos from a whole region, like the black forest, but most are form specific spot. A lot of castles and religious places have their own leporellos or maps, but the main topic are cities. The nice thing is, that not only the metropoles have their souvenirs, but also the smaller cities and small places with a touristic attraction. In fact from everything that attracts people on a regular basis could have been made a leporello or photo map, because people want to have a little memorizer of their trip.

leporello of a glider plane airport
More information about the publication City Souvenirs you can find on my portfolio site. A preview you can see here and I also made a post of another source of inspiration.

maandag 12 mei 2014

the beauty of our country

[Dutch text below]
One of the inspiring books for my new publication is The Flemish Cities from the series De Schoonheid van ons Land, which means 'the beauty of our country'. The whole series contains 18 coffee table size books (35 x 25 cm) and was first published in 1945. The book breath a certain nationalistic flavor, as the series contains poems and praising texts, highlighting the sunny side of the Dutch and Flemish culture and its traditions. In this sense these books are in the line with the German blue books (PDF), which were published since 1904. The eyecatcher of The Flemish Cities is for sure the well edited and subtile printed photos of Emmy Andriesse and Cas Oorthuys, who made almost all images for this book.

Één van de boeken die mij inspireerde voor mijn nieuwste publicatie is De Vlaamse Steden uit de serie De Schoonheid van ons Land. De hele reeks omvat 18 boeken in groot formaat (35 x 25 cm) die voor het eerst in 1945 werden uitgebracht. Het boek is doordrenkt met een zekere nationalistische tendens, vooral omdat de gedichten en teksten een uitbundige lofzang vormen op de culturele en traditionele verworvenheden binnen de Nederlandstalige gebieden. In die zin staan deze boeken in het verlengde van de Duitse blauwe boeken (PDF), die sinds 1904 op de markt zijn. Het hoogtepunt van De Vlaamse Steden vormt ongetwijfeld het goed geëdite en subtiel gedrukte fotowerk van Emmy Andriesse en Cas Oorthuys, die de meeste opnamen voor dit boek hebben gemaakt.

all images © N. Beierle

zaterdag 10 mei 2014

City Souvenirs Preview!

number 1 and 2 of City Souvenirs

Right now I finished my publication about the City Souvenir series. The first two examples of this print on demand publication with a limit of 75 copies are bound and ready to meet the public. There are twenty images from each city and albeit you won't find the major highlights for tourists between the images, you can have a nice d-tour of Copenhagen, Berlin, Antwerp and The Hague. I will post soon a bit more background information about the book, but first I will give you a quick preview of it.


This xerographic publication counts 104 pages and has 80 black & white images on glossy paper. It's size is 210 x 150 x 7 mm and will be printed on demand in a numbered edition of max. 75 pieces and there is now a paypal button in top of the right column for everyone who want to have a copy in their own bookshelf. 

all images © Norman Beierle