|Jupiter-8 50mm lens with Ilford FP4|
“All lenses, regardless of format, project a circular image, and the rectangular film format must fit within this image-circle. With a small camera, a high-quality image is required within the film area, and the remainder of the image circle is disregarded. A view camera, on the other hand, requires an image-circle considerably larger than the film area, to allow freedom to use the camera adjustments. A lens’s covering power or coverage refers to the total image-circle; it is a fixed quantity, regardless of the film format, and is not a function of focal length.”The rectangular photographic image is a convention derived by the historically existing relationship to painting and other graphic arts (note, for example, the use of the term ‘print’ for the photographic image on paper), and this frame is built in to the technology itself. The rectangle has much to recommend it, but it is not inherent to the photographic image. The image that a lens forms is circular; the rectangular frame is ultimately a legacy of architecture via the portable easel painting (tracing this legacy further back, cave paintings and rock art do not have definable edges: organic surfaces and surface decoration are essentially integrated). Of course, many photographs have been framed in a circular fashion - the first Kodak camera used a circular mask to make round images, and for Polaroid cameras, the Impossible Project make an instant film with a round frame - but these are a vestigial reminder of the fact that an image produced by a lens is circular - again, it is as likely that this alternative convention of the round frame is derived from painting (the portrait miniature, as many daguerreotypes were originally presented) and architecture, and perhaps also the experience of viewing images produced by other lens-based technologies such as telescopes and microscopes, around long before photography. Given the construction of the eye, specifically that the eye has a lens analogous to the photographic lens, there is a direct relationship to human vision, in which one can never really perceive its edges; with binocular vision this becomes an awareness of a squashed oval visual field, where beyond the edge is simply an infinitude of nothing.
Ansel Adams, The Camera
In Ansel Adams' quote above, the must in "the rectangular film format must fit within this image-circle" was something I wanted to challenge. In photography, the circular image is only generally seen in extreme wide angles, such as the fish eye lens, and begins to announce its presence in the vignetting that accompanies simple lenses on cheap cameras (as with the Diana and the V. P. Twin). I wanted to achieve something other than a distorted image, which would obscure the object of this exercise: the distorted image would be remarkable for those qualities, not merely for being circular.
|Demaria-Lapierre 75mm Manar Anastigmat lens|
|75mm Manar Anastigmat on Kodak Plus-X|
|75mm Manar Anastigmat with Ilford FP4|
|75mm Manar Anastigmat at f5.6 on Ilford FP4 film|
|75mm Manar Anastigmat st f32 on Ilford FP4 film|
|74mm Manar Anastigmat with Ilford FP4|
|Jupiter-8 50mm lens|
|50mm Jupiter-8 lens with Rollei ATO 2.1|
|Jupiter-8 50mm lens with Kodak Plus-X|
Ansel Adams, The Camera, Little, Brown and Company, New York 1980, twelfth paperback printing, 2005.
Alan Horder (editor), The Manual of Photography, sixth edition, Focal Press Limited 1971