Marko Rantanen is a photographer from Finland, currently living in Copenhagen. He shoots mainly portraits, fashion and advertising, creating both still and video work. The camera used in this case was a Toyo 8×10 field camera and the lens an old Schneider Symmar. Dreaming of shooting large format images for some time, he chose 8×10 for this shoot as it fitted perfectly for this rare type of editorial work. He mainly uses digital format, due to its practical comfortability, but aims to infuse analog choices whenever he can.
“At the beginning of this year Finnish glossy magazine ‘Image’ launched a new concept for each of its issues to be guest edited by a visiting persona, with a monthly theme revolving around each editor’s expertise. The Editor-in-Chief for the March issue, Outi Pyy is a self titled “trashionista” who preaches on sustainable fashion and beauty of recycling. Following her passion, all clothing for the fashion editorial was selected from second hand and vintage boutiques – each piece in the fashion editorial was a unique, mainly old and hand-made articles. “If you acquire an overcoat from the 60s that is still in neat condition today, chances are it will remain a staple in your wardrobe many more years to come.” – rationalises Outi Pyy on the fashion choices. There was this kind of real free-flow in planning of the editorial, with no restrictions from advertisers or editorial team. The colours or details of garments didn’t need to be reproduced in exact way which allowed completely different type of approach for both technical and visual choices.
I’ve become so enamoured with the look of the film, that how I physically look is of no importance really. I can see beyond that now and appreciate the imperfections in myself too.
Analog photography still manages to surprise with its unique tones that would be tricky to reproduce in after effects. It also works well on skin, naturally softening the texture for example. The Impossible 8×10 color film has really charming hues and the black-and-white one creates magnificent contrasts. With slow speed of the large format photography, and notably higher cost of material, the pace of the shoot is somewhat very different to your standard digital shoot. The majority of focus and concentration is definitely shifted to the actual shoot and pre-work and the margin for errors is non-existent. For this 11 set editorial your result of a digital shoot would stand somewhere around 1000 images. Shooting in the analog, the total result was 24 images.
Usually I would spend hours on choosing frames and grading them. This time, the post-shoot work was very fluid and time-efficient, evaluating the meaning of time and widening horizons became the key themes of the project. 8×10 film offers very different perspective to your 35mm film. It feels a very natural aspect ratio to me and the image is easy to view from a big focusing screen. Some of the shots had small faults in the developing, these just added character to the frame and highlight nicely some key details of the shot. Everyone in the team felt intrigued to keep the end result as natural as possible, really focusing on getting all details in place at the shoot. There was none of the “fix it in the photoshop” attitude. Time spent in planning will pay off the in the end and enable us to create things that will stand time well, to be cherished years to come. Working with Impossible really feels like creating an image from a scratch good old-fashioned way.”