The Guardian: Tracking Edith review – gripping film about Soviet spy and photographer

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jul/27/tracking-edith-review-documentary-engima-camera

“The sinew and texture of history are to be found in this grippingly detailed documentary by Peter Stephan Jungk, based on his 2015 book The Darkrooms of Edith Tudor-Hart. She was Jungk’s aunt: an Austrian-born documentary photographer and socialist, domiciled in Britain during and after the second world war, whose work brilliantly recorded the lives of the urban working classes in Vienna, London and the Rhondda valley….”

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“Her brilliance as a photographer perhaps involved a spy-like skill in ingratiating herself into a certain situation and unobtrusively recording it. The photographer as double-agent? Perhaps photographers like Tudor-Hart have to cultivate a spy-like tradecraft. Critic Duncan Forbes notes that this was partly about using a Rolleiflex camera that had to be held at waist height, away from the face.” Rolleiflex 4.0 FT twin lens reflex telephoto portrait camera, special edition. Photograph courtesy of Franke & Heidecke.

Commentary

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera with tilting electronic viewfinder and Panasonic Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Power OIS zoom lens with JJC lens hood. HDR brackets processed with Skylum Aurora HDR.

This documentary on the life and work of Edith Tudor-Hart is currently doing the rounds of cinemas and film festivals, and I hope that it will eventually become available for viewing or purchasing online.

Far too many historically important female photographers and especially female documentary photographers have been forgotten about and left out of the historical record, gallery shows and museums, and time is well overdue for Edith Tudor-Hart and so many others of her ilk to be recognized, racy political background or not.

Comments in the media about Edith Tudor-Hart’s reliance on a Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex aka TLR camera are interesting.

I used several Rolleiflex TLR cameras during the analog era and would have loved to have been able to buy one each of the most recent standard lens, telephoto and wide-angle lens versions of the camera, but Rolleiflexes were always hard to find and costly new or secondhand.

Their waist-level viewfinders and other viewing options made it possible to melt into the crowd when photographing in public or next-to-invisible when making portrait photographs in public or in the studio, aided by their relatively quiet leaf shutters.

There was no mirror slap as their twin lens reflex design meant they had a lower lens for making the photograph and the upper lens for viewing, with the viewing compartment mirror fixed.

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Viewfinder and filter options for Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex aka TLR cameras. It is a pity that few of these sort of viewing options have been produced for digital camera users.

Rolleflex and other brand TLRs such as those made by Mamiya and Yashica continue to be popular amongst certain documentary photographers who are blessed with access to good secondhand camera suppliers, but there are digital alternatives such as Fujifilm’s medium format GFX 50S with optional tilting EVF adapter and more affordably Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GX8 and DC-GX9 Micro Four Thirds camera, both of which have built-in tilting EVFs.

It is also possible to make waist-level-style photographs with cameras having tilting LCD monitors, though I much prefer fully-articulated LCD monitors for the purpose and some Panasonic cameras have these too, on cameras including the DSLR-style Lumix DMC-GH4, GH5, GH5S and G9.

Given the choice between tilting EVFs, tilting LCDs and fully articulated LCDs, my preference by far is for cameras combining tilting EVFs with fully-articulated LCDs as they present the most versatile viewing options and thus the most ways of seeing and shooting stills and video.

Waist-level and tilting viewfinder cameras and users

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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8’s large OLED live viewfinder features a unique tilting design to benefit working from low angles and also has an impressive 2.36m-dot resolution, 0.77x magnification, and 10,000:1 contrast ratio.

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  • Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Mirrorless CameraB&H – soon to be joined by the release of its larger GFX 100S and smaller GFX 50R siblings.
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The Guardian: Royal Photographic Society seeks ‘hundred heroines’ for special award

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/aug/02/royal-photographic-society-seeks-hundred-heroines-for-special-award

“Women such as Julia Margaret Cameron were among the pioneers of photography and the earliest members of the Royal Photographic Society. However, the society is concerned that despite a few superstars such as the American photographer Annie Leibovitz, the importance of the work of contemporary female photographers is being overlooked in a male-dominated profession.

The society is launching an international campaign, Hundred Heroines, to find and honour outstanding contemporary female photographers, and is inviting both members of the public and professionals to put forward names to join the ranks….”

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