imaginary love

Shot last Saturday in Antwerp in a beautiful guest house with Bo as our model and Joke as make-up artist (<– fantastic line-up!) … the place was very close to the shopping district which made the search for a (low cost) parking spot quite  a nightmare… but the place was more than worth it! I planned on shooting large format mixed with either 35mm or 645… the classic theme made me choose the Contax 645 and the Zeiss 2/80mm for the smoother tones… For large format I took the Linhof Technika with a 135 and 210 lens… I was thinking about taking the Aero Ektar, but as I was not sure about the available light in the house I opted for the more versatile camera in terms of shutter speeds (with the Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar 1/30 sec is the lower limit… unless you expose with the lens cap)… film was Kodak Tri-x 400 for the Contax and Tri-x320 in 4×5.

I used again some movie-stock Kodak Vision3 500T in a Nikon FE2… I hope I will be able to get these rolls developed and scanned soon…. title is a song from Rufus Wainwright – the outfit and style of the shoot made me think of his music… hope you like it!

UPDATE 11 Dec 2011: added some color images I just developed: Kodak Portra 400 / Contaxt 645




  1. 24. October 2011 / 19:45

    Yes I like it!

    Very beautiful series with superb toning in the B&W. Fragile beauty framed…

  2. Alberto
    24. October 2011 / 20:13

    I love the vintage tones!
    how can you get the best from your models every time? 🙂

  3. 24. October 2011 / 20:33

    this is really wonderfull serie! bravo! .. ancd she is obsolutely pretty…

  4. 24. October 2011 / 20:44

    yes, I like it :). Well done!

  5. 24. October 2011 / 20:49

    simplement magnifique , admirateur de votre travail et une source d’inspiration ,merci

  6. 24. October 2011 / 20:49

    Jan, ich glaube, für mich ist das eines deiner bestens Shootings in letzter Zeit, vielleicht sogar überhaupt bisher. So viele Bilder, die Liebe auf den ersten Blick sind. Ein Augenschmaus. 🙂

  7. 24. October 2011 / 22:41

    Hi Jan,

    What a beautiful series again! You keep surprising me every time. I don’t want to repeat it over and over again, but what else can I say? These series feels like a beautiful poem. Everything like styling, hair make-up, model, location are so delicate. All these ingredients are perfectly in balance and creating a beautiful symbiosis with each other.

    I have a question about the number 12. You shoot the model in front of the window with the light source coming out of the window. There are still a lot of details in the background, like the curtains, and there are still a lot of details on the model. Is that the advantage of shooting analog versus digital? Do you have a wider range in gray-scales when shooting analog and less problems with over-exposure and under-exposure in one shot?

    Best regards,


    • 31. October 2011 / 10:21

      Hi Maarten… that is indeed one situation I would do with film and would not try with digital (I tried quite often before)… in available light, film offers a lot of possibilities as I do not have to worry about the background blowing out… the information is all in the negative and during the scanning I can dial in how I want the highlights and shadows to fall….


      • 31. October 2011 / 12:27

        Thanks again for your explanation. I am considering to purchase a Hasselblad 501CM (like you have) next year, because of the wider range in grey-scales and the authentic feeling of shooting analog. Does it makes a lot of difference in grey-scale range when shooting 8×10 (like the example of nr.12) versus 6×6 (like the Hasselblad). Or is it pretty the same?

        Which scanner do you use? And is it possible to make changes during or before the scan. A lot of questions again. Feel free to answer and when you have time to answer.

        Thanks in advance!

        Greetings Maarten

      • 1. November 2011 / 09:42

        Good choice 🙂
        There is still a difference between large format and 6×6 – but I think it is lots smaller than the difference between 35mm and 6×6…especially when looking at moderate print sizes or scans on the internet. Medium format is a bit like the sweet spot in terms of tonal range vs cost/manageability/ease of operation. Large Format will give you more of that, but the price in terms of time and complex operation is quite high.

        I try to adjust the settings of the scanner as much as I can before hitting the scan button – photoshop is then just needed for some clean-up and minute tweaks. For Medium and Large Format I use an Epson V750 and Silverfast Software.


      • 1. November 2011 / 17:03

        Thanks a lot for your information. One of my new goals for then coming next year and save some money now. 😉

        Greetings Maarten

  8. 25. October 2011 / 21:47

    Very amazing, all natural light?

    • 31. October 2011 / 10:22

      Yes – all natural light… bouncing off the walls and bed sheets etc 🙂

  9. 26. October 2011 / 15:54

    I love these! So soft and elegant. Nice work.

  10. 26. October 2011 / 22:17

    Your work is such an inspiration to me. Keep them coming. Really like your work. Thanks.

  11. Steven
    26. October 2011 / 22:49

    #7…speechless. truly inspirational work. thx for sharing.

  12. 26. October 2011 / 23:54

    I have been following you on flickr and I have to say that you are the most inspiring photographer I have seen in the last years. Your work is so calm, so subtle. I wish I could do work like yours someday!

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. 27. October 2011 / 00:12

    Lovely, lovely images, Jan. Welcome back to large format 🙂
    I’ve only shot Tri-X 320 under studio strobes and I really liked it. How do you find it in natural light? Was it easy to scan?


    • 31. October 2011 / 10:26

      Hi Nasir… very easy to scan.. I find, the larger the format gets, the less hassle with certain films or lighting situations… so much information in the negative that things can hardly go wrong 🙂


  14. mj
    30. October 2011 / 10:41

    ja, sehr gut. gefühlt eine rückkehr zu deinem stil

  15. 31. October 2011 / 06:35

    I love Tri-x! The soft milky tones are so wonderful! Some of those pictures really have that old Hollywood feel to them. Great job!

  16. 3. November 2011 / 10:07

    Ich sehe das auch wie MJ. 😉

    Nein, ich möchte kein LF, nein, ich möchte kein LF, nein, ich…
    Ich ärgere mich jetzt schon, dass ich keinen Vergrößerer bis 6×7 habe (nur bis 6×6).

    8, 25 und 29 sind abolute Spitze!

  17. 6. November 2011 / 12:21

    Great as always Jan, LOVE them all 🙂

    Just one question! It seems that most of the time models wear light dresses on light bed sheets and dark walls, so is that why they all help bouncing the available light?


    • 6. November 2011 / 14:41

      Hello Aryan, the bed sheets in this example are bouncing the lights quite heavily because the sun is hitting the sheets directly. Normally there is a subtle effect maybe from light bed sheets, but I prefer darker sheets as more emphasis is on the light face … the the darker the better… I don’t intentionally look for white sheets etc…

  18. David
    8. November 2011 / 17:11

    Vielleicht hast Du an “Realse the Stars” von Rufus Wainright gedacht. Mit der Textzeile: “Didn’t you know that old Hollywood is over?” Passt auch zu Edward Steichen 😉

  19. Elise laenen
    16. November 2011 / 20:20

    Boo dit zijn egt fantastche foto’s !!!

  20. 22. November 2011 / 02:19

    These are simply incredible! It would definitely not look the same with digital. I am still rough around the edges with film and I was wondering if you had tips on how you prefer to expose for your film. I am hearing so many people saying they are using their light meters and rating the film at half the box speed. Do you recommend this method from your experience, or do you have other suggestions that you recommend doing? Thank you in advance for sharing your beautiful work!

  21. 1. March 2012 / 18:06

    This is an outstanding piece of photography! Like every shot….
    Are the color pictures a little bit edited or has the film this look?

  22. sophie
    29. March 2012 / 20:02

    Wow, this is very pretty!

  23. 18. August 2012 / 17:38

    Amazing set.

  24. 28. February 2015 / 01:10

    Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all
    important infos. I would like to see extra posts like this .

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