by Paolo Mazzanti
In the contemporary era dominated by digital photography, it would seem anachronistic to speak of film photography or, worse, of “plates”.
With digital photography you can shoot and see the result straight away, the camera or mobile phone sit comfortably in your pocket, the memory is super large, it costs nothing to shoot, the response time in case of need is zero and we can immediately shoot everything. And so many other advantages that there’s no need to list.
And yet, despite everything, someone likes to go back to shooting as they did in the nineteenth century: with plates and a view camera.
An ancient fascination that comes back to life today.
But how is it possible that someone would produce equipment for technologies now considered obsolete and anachronistic? To start a similar business one would need a good help of madness!
We went looking for one of those “crazy people” that nowadays would produce view cameras and we found it in Italy, in the province of Modena: a young engineer named Alessandro Gibellini who founded the Gibellini Projects (gibellinicamera.com). Started shortly after 2012, the company is dedicated to the construction of view cameras using the latest technologies in the field of 3D prototyping and metalworking engineering, from aluminium to titanium. Carbon fiber is a must for the more advanced models.
The formats range from 4×5 (in inches) to 8×10.
But Gibellini does not stop there, they also create customized view cameras on demand, both in different formats and for different needs. Last but not least, those made with 3D printers both in the entry level version and in Technopolymer.
At this point, the curiosity is great and we promise to go see in person what and how the production goes within a technologically advanced company, inspired by ancient history.
The interest in this particular niche sector involves a great number of enthusiasts all over the world, who believe in photography built with effort, piece by piece get to an image conceived, desired, built and created with patience.No lucky shots to catch almost by chance, but works that are the result of an unstoppable desire to frame history in a fragment destined for posterity, which have the highest possible quality and reveal all the thought behind the shot, but be careful!
It’s not for everybody! But only for those who know how to look.
June 23, 2020