Kalen is the owner of the excellent Shatterbox Coffee Bar at 950 Yates Street in Victoria. The location is very close to my old office and I would go there from time to time. I still go there now, though not a lot as I am not often in this area.

A great thing about the shop (other than the people, coffee, tea and baked goods) is the light. Not just the light from the front windows near where Kalen is standing in this picture, but upstairs in a white-painted room with skylights and comfy chairs.

The Mamiya really gives me the urge to photograph people, and for some reason when I am holding it I am more inclined to ask. People seem more inclined to say yes as well. I think they are curious about the camera, and perhaps see it as an indicator of serious intent. Or maybe my manner is just more confident and that influences the response.

Kalen said I could use this picture – thanks Kalen!

This is the first roll of new film I have used in the camera – black and white Ilford. It is a biggish image – click through on the image to see greater detail.

A few days ago when stopping by for coffee another customer came in carrying a TLR medium format camera, I think a Rolleicord. We chatted, and he agreed to pose with his camera – sadly the shutter refused to fire on the Mamiya.

The shutter is working again, but I am not completely sure what went wrong – it coincided with swapping the film back. When I loaded more film in the other back it hesitated to give me a shutter, and then kicked back into action, including for the film and back that it had not been working on. Probably operator error.



Mamiya M645 Super, 80mm/f2.8 lens, ISO400, Ilford Delta 400 Pro.




12 thoughts on “Shatterbox

  1. nicely posed portrait, almost like a candid shot 🙂
    it’s great to read you are so excited bout the Mamiya 🙂 will be lookin forward to more portraits from you in the future then…


    • Hi Alexandra – taking portraits is something I have next to no experience of, but I am taking them now! Currently I am waiting for permissions to use some of the other pictures that I have taken. There are some for which I don’t feel like I need permission, such as street musicians, but if I take a picture of someone with their permission I feel I need to get permission to post it too. The problem with that scenario becomes younger women – I would not want to ask for their contact info after taking their picture, it would seem like I might be stalking them or something. So, that becomes a quandry. I am contemplating a business card that points them to my blog and puts the decision to contact me into their hands. But I am not sure if that would work. I probably should seed the opinion of my female friends.


      • I guess it’s a bit easier for a woman to approach a stranger and ask for permission to photograph them… though here people are veeery suspicious… and I still get rejections sometimes 🙂 but still, I can tell you what I do when I want to photograph someone in the street, though ima no expert 🙂 when I ask someone if I can take their picture I immediately say I have a photography blog and a project “portraits of strangers”… so they know I want to publish the picture… and they have the opportunity to turn me down at this early point… I have noticed I get rejections if my camera is not visible… so I always have it in my hand… you are right about people being interested and intrigued by cameras, you have the advantage that your camera is looking way more interesting than mine 🙂 so I after I take the shot, some people ask me for the blog and how they can get their pictures, I don’t have a business card… here (in Bg) that would immediately mean there is some commercial aspect, some are even suspicious they will have to pay for the pictures lol 🙂 so most of them just look up the blog in their phones and all is set… others never ask me for the blog, just agree to take their picture taken and know they will have it published, which is cool too 🙂 I am sure you will find your way and I will be very happy to follow the portraits you take, you have really an amazing eye for composition and detail, your portraits will be an exciting series 🙂


      • Alexandra – thanks so much for sharing your methods. That initial disclosure is a good idea. It never occurred to me that people might check it out on the spot, but of course, so many people are on line all the time that they can. Your observations about the commercial implications of a business card might well be the same thing here. I was thinking of a card that just pointed to my blog and had my blogging email address on it too – home made cards. Perhaps to hold onto unless someone wants more info.
        I had a good look at your “portraits of strangers” series – it is very interesting and inspires me to continue along that path, as one of the things I will try to do. It also inspired me to go back through my negatives from this year and pull out a few shots of people that I have passed over for a variety of reasons. My blog is subtitled “My Surroundings” and so I think that “strangers” will be fewer (though I am surrounded by strangers) and more of the people I interact with on a regular basis, like shop keepers and so on.
        Thanks for all your kind words. I am not sure if my eye for detail is translatable to portraiture, but we will see.


      • I have to tell you that you inspire me just as much ever since I found your blog 🙂 if you ever see me shooting film, you will be the one to “blame”… 😀 I hope I can be able one day to start seeing graphic fragments and light and shadows as well as you do 🙂 thanks much once again 🙂


      • Thanks so much! And as to film, go for it! There are lots of good film cameras, often being given away, or nearly so. 35mm and 120 film sizes are readily available though most other formats are not.


    • And, I meant to say, this is how he was standing when I noticed the shot. So he kindly stayed in place while I got ready and continued to chat with a friend. So, it captures some of the candid aspect, but not quite. When I was all packed up and leaving I notice him in a much more interesting position which perhaps one day I can get a picture of.


  2. Thanks Ken! Looking at the background (which I did while framing the photo) I think I could have got it bit better if I stood more to my left, just a bit, to hide the black bar coming out of the side of his head. The film was too fast to get a more shallow depth of field in what is quite bright light, but that might not have helped with such strong lines on the wall behind.


  3. This is a very nice portrait. Not only does it show the subject in a good light but the horizontal and vertical lines in the background are all straight and make a good frame for the subject.


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