Life-Long Hasselblad Shooter
Loving the H
Michael Meyersfeld (www.meyersfeld.com), a versatile commercial photographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa, captures striking, sometimes jarringly unvarnished images on a broad spectrum of subjects. With support from his tight-knit studio team - photographic assistant, studio/production manager, studio assistant, and in-house retouchers who operate independently as The Touch Shop - the award-winning photographer many times over creates his signature images of people, food, cars, locations, and fine art work for a clientele composed primarily of advertising agencies based in his native South Africa and worldwide. A life-long Hasselblad shooter, Meyersfeld currently reaches for his H3DII-50 to capture his distinctive images.
Image-making has always fascinated me. From the age of six, I was making black-and-white contacts from a Brownie camera in a cupboard under the stairwell at my home in Johannesburg. I also have a passion for fine art photography. I’ve exhibited and sold work to numerous collectors, including the Johannesburg Art Gallery.
The longer I work in this field, the more enthusiastic I become. I have to admit to a great sense of excitement being in the world of digital photography and all that it encompasses.
While I am far more adept at taking photographs than writing, it’s easy for me to express why I have always - and only - shot with Hasselblad cameras since purchasing my 500CW in 1988. Hasselblad cameras offer the highest quality standard, capable of producing image files with extraordinary color and stunning resolution.
I truly love working with the H system cameras. The H3DII-50, as well as the H3DII-39 and its predecessors, are easy to hold, not as heavy as you might expect, have a high sync speed, stunning optics, and all the controls exactly where they should be. While I generally shoot with a tripod, I find the camera’s portability and ease of use when shooting handheld, especially on location, surprisingly good.
With the H3DII-50 specifically, the detail achieved in fine areas is phenomenal and the ability to crop into an image, given the large file size, is often a big plus.
When I started to use Phocus, the new processing software, I found it a bit tricky, but now I very much enjoy the versatility that all the functions provide. The range of adjustment tools is excellent, in particular the noise filter, lens corrections, and preset facility. The more I use the software, the more I appreciate its benefits.
One of the first assignments I shot with my H3DII-50 was for Great Stock, a Johannesburg-based stock library, in October 2008. I was commissioned to photograph a family living in Alexander Township, a lower-income area adjoining Johannesburg. The goal was to come up with images that have a positive energy, and are shot in a fresh manner.
For "Kitchen Couple," part of this series, I used a 28mm wide angle lens and illuminated the scene with a Broncolor flash. Since the series was shot for stock, the image's final use is unknown at this time, but it was captured on a 50 million-pixel back, so its use will be completely unrestricted.
I am currently working on another project, a possible sequel to 12 Naked Men, my first thematic exhibition, held in June 2007 at the David Brown Fine Art Gallery in Johannesburg. The new project, Woman Undone, will be a series of 12 images in the same size as 12 Naked Men. They will depict the changing role of woman in our world, and the resulting consequences. At this time, I have completed four images.
The image "Woman Undone – Urinal” was shot on the H3DII-39 using a 35mm lens. The "Woman Undone – 3 Babies” was captured with the H3DII-50 and a 28mm lens. My end goal is that these images, together with those of my 12 Naked Men exhibition, will be published in book form. I illuminated all of the images with a Broncolor flash. I shot these images using a Gitzo tripod and an Elinchrom receiver, saving primarily to my MacBook Pro laptop, but occasionally to a CF media card.
Hasselblad cameras have been a major component of my art and business for two decades. I approach each new model with enthusiasm and anticipation. The H3DII-50’s quality and versatility are extraordinary, and I am quite certain the H3DII-60 will exceed its capabilities, and so on.
Text: Alice B. Miller