Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hasselblad Masters - Berlin

Right. After leaving Paris, i had a few days in Berlin. I was to attend the Hasslelbad Masters 2012 event there, which sported 100 of the chosen photographers, finalists in the Masters Programme. All fine. We got to the event, which took place at the Delight Studios - for anyone looking to rent out studio spaces in Berlin, they are very good. So we get to the event. We get the branded bracelets, and are allowed in. We got the same feeling as being in a gallery. Everything was neat, labeled and presented in a very tidy manner. We got to play with the new Hasselblad models, H4D60 and the 200mpx product camera. The image on the right is Nick Brandt's. He shot it some years back and
The great thing about having played with the 200mpx camera was ruining the myth. The system is really just a 50mpx H4D, which takes 6 separate shots. Two of them are shot on a Red filter, two on a Green and two on a blue. The Phocus system manages pretty much everything, leaving you with an image made of the 6 overlapped frames. This is pretty awesome if you shoot products. The level of detail in the 1.4 gb image is truly impressive. It also goes to show that the optical side of the Hasselblad is just as great as it was 20 or 40 years ago. The thing was, like with other Hasselblad events i've been to in Europe, that they're sales directed. I learned pretty much everything there is to know about the new models, including something geeky but impressive: How ti control your Hasselblad via your iPhone/iPad, wirelessly through Phocus. I have seen this particular idea before, but in action, it was pretty impressive.
I've been to Hasselblad events in other places in Europe as well, as i mentioned. However, i kinda had high hopes from Germany. Let's say they have a history of being well organized. This was clearly not the case. However well oiled the machines are, the presentation and basically the whole day, lacked any sort of coherence. You had to go around, asking for things about each camera, new lenses, new features, sync options and so on. Rather than having everyone sit down, listen quietly and then fiddle with the cameras, the Berlin team opted for something more towards the "Brownian movement" system. Not the ideal choice, by far.
The models we shot were cool, the lighting was quite impressive (they also showed some Broncolors but really nobody figured they were commercial promotions since it didn't say so anywhere), the space was great. In the evening, we had the classic schedule: wine, dine and gallery show. Pretty good prints of some of the finalists, not all of them. And this is where i come to the end of the post but also to an issue i am curious about: One of the finalists,
i've seen it in dozens of places, including Photomagazine and this year's Paris Photo Show. Good. Great. It means it's famous. Now the picture with the baby elephant with the exact same pose is Joachim Schmeisser's image. I agree that both images are good quality photographs. But, is it not awkward at all that they would pick an image which is post processed in the exact same way as a famous one? Same halo, same vignetting, same pose, same crop (if you look at the web pics, not my screen shot comparison).