Although many photographers have worked with square format cameras, notably those made by Hassleblad and Rollei, few have really taken to the format and worked with it. Many always cropped their images, and saw the square format simply as enabling them to shoot in the same way for either a portrait or landscape format, with none of the problems of needing to tune the camera on its side. And some cameras really did make this a little of a problem. For those photographers who work with a camera on a tripod or stand it can also present some difficulties. But with the square format you just took the pictures and cropped whichever way you wanted afterwards.
What I like about Larry Fink’s photographs – most of them on square format ands presented as square is how he really gets the frame to work, getting in close to his subjects and using those edges in a really dynamic way.
The front page of his web site contains the text:
Viscerality is my perceptual mode. Simply spoken,it means that I want to touch everything that I love. Hopefully my pictures are a testimony to the love of the senses.
I’ve long thought of photography as being a very tactile medium and I’m at my happiest photographing people and groups of people at the kind of range where I could reach out and touch them, though often I have to work from a rather longer range.
Fink’s best-known work remains Social Graces, a book published by Aperture in 1984 (with a later Powerhouse edition in 1999.)
Born in Brooklyn, like others of a similar generation he studied paintings in the museums of that city, as well as photography with Lisette Model at the New School for Social Research. And he got to know many of the artists and literary figures living in the city.
Visura has a great portfolio of his images of ‘The Beats‘, taken in the late 1950s and published as a book in 2014, and you can read more about him and the book in The New Yorker. Olivier Laurent wrote about him on Time LightBox in 2015, and there is an interesting interview with him by Julie Ma on The Cut.
What prompted me to write this post was Fink on Warhol: New York Photographs of the 1960s which appeared recently in L’oeil De La Photographie.
I’ve owned several square format cameras over the years, including an ancient Rolleiflex (it cost me £35) but never really got into the cameras or the format.