Each installment features a photographer discussing a piece of equipment they can't do without—and a photograph they couldn't capture without it.

Photographer: David Underwood

Equipment: Hasselblad 500C/M camera

I love to shoot black and white negative film with my Hasselblad 500C/M camera. This is the camera that USA astronauts took into space to make some of the most iconic images of our Earth and moon. The simple and precise mechanics of the camera, the super clear standard 80mm Carl Zeiss lens, and the eye-level prism finder force me to slowly and carefully compose each frame of my 120 film. I nearly always hand hold this heavy, well balanced camera as I make square 6x6cm negatives of street views, landscapes, odd city details, and other interesting discoveries as I travel and as I explore my own surroundings. I like the square format because it demands attention to detail of composition and because my eventual use of the resulting photographs is usually to incorporate them into larger square mixed-media assemblages.

I develop my own black and white negatives, and then print my own silver gelatin photographs in my darkroom, which allows me the kind of analog control and resulting print quality that I find best suits my purposes. I print the entire square negatives and include a black border around each image, which shows the characteristic Hasselblad four corners and the two little notches on the left side of each frame. The square silver gelatin prints that I attach to larger assemblages relate to the overall format of the square mixed-media artwork, so that the component parts mimic the whole.

Above is an example of one of my recent “image/text” artworks which incorporates two Hasselblad 6x6cm images; the title is “Appropriation of Significance,” and the overall size is 36” x 36’ (mixed-media on canvas). For more examples, please visit my web site.