Workshop presentation

The view camera brings us back to the origins of photography, using sensitive metal or glass plates, now replaced by film or digital backs. Large format film starts with 9 x 12 cm but can go up to 50 × 60 cm. The large format camera workshop is intended for those who wish to acquire new techniques or to enrich their know-how that will enable them to stand out from other photographers. Participants will learn how to use large format cameras, which requires taking pictures one by one, and result in a different aesthetics to the one allowed by small and medium-format cameras (from 24 × 36 mm to 6 × 9 cm). Last but not least, they will also be able to discover the richness and beauty of the lights and landscapes of Biarritz and the Spanish Basque Country.

Next sessions: 20-24 May, 2024 ; 10-14 June, 2024
Campus: Biarritz
Language of instruction: English, French
Tuition: €3,500 (accommodation and meals in the premises of Spéos Biarritz included)
Logistic informationplease contact Spéos

Day 1

  • Introduction to large format view camera handling. Tilts, tilt axes and offsets. Scheimpflug ruler to optimize the depth of field.
  • Choice of focal lengths. Use of contrast filters.
  • Choice of film (100, 125, 200 or 400 ISO, for the most common films). Consequence on the image rendering, either contact shot or enlarged.
  • The principles of light measurement. Use of the light meter in reflected and incident mode. Use of the spotmeter. Zone System and Incident System: 2 approaches to light measurement. Ansel Adams’ Zone System and Phil Davis’ Incident System. Use of the ExpoDev application (iPhone, iPod and iPad) to facilitate exposure. Useful shortcuts to quickly determine film exposure in incident light.
  • Film holder loading and coding for easy identification of the shots on the negative after development.

Days 2 & 3

  • Outdoor shoots.
  • Movements practice of large format cameras.
  • Light measurement on specific cases.
  • Use of contrast filters.

Days 4 & 5

  • Film processing and contact sheets.
  • Analysis and discussion of participants’ work.

Participants can bring their own equipment. For the shoots: camera(s), lens(es), film holder(s), tripod, film. Otherwise the equipment will be provided.

Participants can bring, if already available, their portfolios with the most representative recent work.

For the workshop, Philippe Bachelier brings a 4×5 Ebony SV45U2 and an 8×10 Kodak Master Camera, some 4×5 and 8×10 lenses and film holders. He will present a portfolio of photographs taken with view cameras.

Film processing equipment provided during the workshop: BTZS 4×5 and 8×10 tubes, chemicals.

Born in Casablanca (Morocco) in 1959, Philippe Bachelier is passionate about photographic techniques in general, as welle as black and white photography in particular. He has acquired quite a reputation thanks to his know-how in analog and digital photography. Notably, Philippe has collaborated as a consultant with Sebastião Salgado and Amazonas Images for the Genesis project.

His book, Noir & Blanc, de la prise de vue au tirage, published by Eyrolles, has been regularly reprinted since its first publication in 1996. It has become a reference.

Philippe shares his discoveries and knowledge in the magazines Réponses Photo and Science & Vie Photo, where he publishes articles every month.

He also teaches Printing Techniques at Spéos and regularly leads workshops.

Enrollment and Contact

Registrations are open all year round and subject to availability.
Feel free to contact Spéos if you have any questions about this program.
At any time you are most welcome to come and visit the school, just make an appointment!