1. May 2011

cursed sleep

I met with Tatjana Saturday afternoon in Antwerp to continue to our designated shooting location up north – close to the border to the Netherlands. For practical reasons we changed our plans on the spot and went instead into the wild east of Belgium to shoot in the “Kesselse Heide” (Kessels’ Heath). These “Heide” Areas are quite common in the east of Belgium and the south of the Netherlands and are wonderful outdoor locations: you have sand, trees, heath – different colours, different textures… you can use the shade between trees, you can shoot in direct sun and have the white sand act as a light bouncer – lots of options.

I wanted to use the late afternoon sun for warm and pleasant light and it worked nicely… while the sun was still quite high we used the shadows between the trees and later shot in the evening sun light. The colour film still needs developing – hope to have it back from the lab next week.

We were shooting two different themes… Tatjana did an excellent job with both “characters” – despite the cold wind and lots of bugs. No make-up artist, no styling and still she looks fantastic… I sort of like these “low-budget” shooting sessions: a good model, a camera, a few rolls of film and some luck with the weather and location… all you need sometimes 🙂

Many thanks for all your comments and participation on the blog so far… thanks as well for your emails and suggestions for topics… will try to incorporate them as much as possible in the future!


In Ruhe angeschaut und ein schönes Gefühl mitgenommen!


this is a really brillant set … she does i very good job to …


The insight you’re sharing here is very helpful! I’m a big fan of your work. The way you portray beauty is something extremely rare. If you ever do a workshop in the Western US I will be the first in line.

Jan – great to see you have a blog…while the Contax is a great camera, some of your readers may need to understand that it is a bit over-rated therefor the price is jacked up.

The Zeiss 80/2 is a great lens as we can witness the work of Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, and Jonathan Canlas. But I use a Bronica SQ which is a 6×6 format, but has backs that will do 645 (I haven’t tried it yet). Surprisingly, the Zenzacon 80/2.8 is a wonderful lens and arguably as good as the Zeiss. Readers of the blog, don’t flame me on this…(1) If you have one, you will know, and (2), I grew up with a 500C in my hands at age 12. We had 4 ‘Blads in the house so I am well aware of the Zeiss 80/2, 80/2.8’s. 🙂

I say all this because as great as the Contax is (I own 4 C/Y lenses and getting the RX 35 MM body), some readers who want to experience MF can do so with Bronica at a lower cost.

Now, that being said, I probably will have a Contax 645 someday…but when it comes down to it, some of my favorite images of yours have been shot with the Nikon and the 135!!!

As always exceptional work and i get the feeling that those
sessions where just you the camera and a model is and much comes from the moment is your think. Is always more spontaneous more ethereal more inbetween moments those photos of you. Love them.
As i see you work and struggle with different cameras and i would love some day to see what are you thoughts about them and using those.

Great blog! Love the layout. And this is a wonderful series. Keep it up!

Hi Jan,

Great results as always, I really love to see how you are mastering the craft.
And I’m also happy to see that you too are using the contax 645.
I’ve started using it a couple of months ago and I’m already loving it to death.

If you ever consider giving some people a personal B&W workshop, contact me pleaaaaase 🙂

nothing planned so far… just not enough time :-/
but this will definitely be the place to announce such things!

Yet another wonderful set.
Jan, your work became something I follow every day – it is always gentle, emotional, yet simple and pure.. very inspiring! Have a feeling as you are in love with every model you shoot 🙂
Of course Zeiss 2/80mm is a fantastic lens, but considering consistent results with different equipment it seems like the tools don’t matter for you at all.
Thanks for sharing!

Just out of curiosity, if you don’t mind, how did you acquire this craft? Any photography school?

Thanks Alex… no school – just lots and lots of shooting. At the beginning I attended two workshops by other photographers… they were ok, but I learned much more from shooting sessions I organized and did myself… I learned lots of looking at other photographer’s work… trying to figure out how they set the light etc… then tried it myself – very often found something interesting in the process.

Hey Jan, Great work on this series and congratulations on the new blog. I’ve been following your work on flickr for a long time and it’s terrific reading more detail about your shoots! Thanks!

Good series as usual. You take advantage of the good weather! Great use of light. Thanks for sharing.

Jan perfectly. Congrats!

Wow, gorgeous as usual. For some reason, I find these especially stunning.

I noticed in the comments above you mentioned 645…is this the Contax 645? I’ve been jonesing for one of those myself lately…they seem like great cameras with superb optics!

Yes it is… for my taste the camera is a bit too “plastic” and modern, when you compare it to a Hasselblad or Rolleiflex (…however, compared to most of today’s DLSRs it feels superb!)… anyway, it works like a dream! It could become my favorite camera… the 2/80 Lens, the 645 format and 120 film are simply a fantastic combination…

Yes, I can see how it would be a bit too modern and plastic. I do love the feel of my Rolleiflex and Leica. Perhaps I’ll have to try it out…now to find one!

Another question if you don’t mind. I generally hate asking these kinds of questions to people as they’re so boring, but…where do you find your models? I ask because I have been using Model Mayhem with some general luck, but have had several people cancel on me in the past few months and I’m getting weary :). Do you find yours through model mayhem or somewhere else?

modelmayhem and similar sites here in belgium and germany… facebook as well…. try model agencies and ask to do test shoots with new and beginning models…

Awesome work! Are you planning to get 140mm f2.8?

currently I am happy with the 80mm… but who knows… one day 🙂

What kind of lens were you using ?
All of the pictures came out such stunners! 🙂

Thanks – its a Zeiss 2/80mm

What a fantastic set. I almost don’t want to see the colour shots because these work so well (don’t let that stop you posting them) 🙂

I can’t remember the last time I saw you shooting on 645, I’ve never considered it, always preferring 6×7 but I really like the format in these shots.

How do you decide on which camera/format to use on a shoot? Shots per roll?


Thanks Nasir… I am actually still searching for the perfect format… it is the first time I used the 645 and for now I am very happy… to me it feels a bit like the sweet spot in usability (in terms of being quick and getting a few more images out of one roll) and quality… for some things – especially fashion – I prefer the rectangle over the square. I was thinking a long time on 6×7… but then I saw a few guys – mainly wedding photographers – that got great results with 645…. especially the Zeiss 2/80mm lens made me decide to give it a try…. still need to practice my focussing skills with the 80mm at f2 though!

Hey. Great results of this session.
What about formats, I am testing recently Pentax 67 and I am much more happy than with my Rolleiflex. Easier to use, lens (105mm f2.4) gives great results, picture on ground screen much cleaner and detailed, and of rectangle format that seems to work better for me. The only disadvantage is that you hae 10 frames out of 120 mm film.

Add Your Comment