Friday, June 27, 2008

Cool encounter


I already said it several times, PDP allowed me to meet dozens of nice people - often from very far away. But last night, I met someone who lives in Paris: Robin Maltete, the son of... René Maltete a French photographer who used to be friend with Doisneau and many other artists of that time. Do check some of his photos in the web album his son Robin made, I'm sure, you will love its humor. Robin contacted me after he saw the white dinner party photo on PDP; we started exchanging emails, then he invited me to his place, where I photographed his - lastest - camera (Robin is also a photographer). Not a very usual one; it uses an 8 x 10 inch film and has none of the sophisticated features you can find on modern digital models!

59 comments:

  1. I'll admit I didn't read the entire post I just hope I am GF!

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  2. What a camera. No, it hasn't the digital features, but would it be useful for PDP in some cases? To be determined...

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  3. Yes Lily. You made it LOL.

    Now you can read the post ;)))

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  4. Now I am embarrassed! especially after reading about a sophisticated photographer!Sophistication is something I can aspire to, I guess...LOL.
    Anyway, I wish I had that camera in the window and the view looking out, I wonder what that is like. Intriguing us once again Monsieur Eric, merci!

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  5. And is that, reflected in the lens, the new developments in the northern part of the city? And what questions or statements are counted as...two lines?

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  6. Jeff > No, I don't think so. I'm totally lousy with camera settings. I surely could never use such a camera - and, if you notice, the image shows upside down, which is not the most practical way of taking photos...

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  7. Oh, mon ami, you've crawled on your belly in fountains, street gutters, and elswhere to take photos for us. If it's upside down, what matter?

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  8. Jeff, no, I think it's a school. You can see better here, from a different perspective.

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  9. I'm glad PDP allowed you to meet another awesome photographer. I like his photos. I like his apartment too - is he single?? ;)

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  10. I am happy that miracles still exist and you can keep on the daily rythm! And you are even here now!
    You surely needn't a new camera because you proved yesterday, once again, you were able to the best in this category. Plus, Robin Maltête's new camera could not be easily hidden in your 'sac-à-dos' ;) But there are really cool photos on his website. J'aime bien 'chien méchant'!! Il fait si peur;) Un peu c'est vrai :)!
    I wish you a very resting night that I think you are deserving a lot!;)

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  11. Very interesting camera! A gentleman came by one evening to photograph my house at night, and he used something similar. The image was also upside down. I kept wondering where the black cloak to put over the top of him was...

    A very nice photo, Eric!

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  12. That is inspiring photography. And you will have to decide whether I mean yours or the link ;-)

    Although I've gone back to 35mm and medium format , I think I'll draw the line before large format. Although if you want LARGE format, try the CameraTruck

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  13. Merci Corinne ;) And good night!

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  14. Eric, I do remember some of Maktete's photos (the group of nuns walking down a street). I do have a favorite French photographer, other than you, and that's Jean Roubier. His work captures old Paris before the Americanization. I have several books of his photographs and aspire to his clarity and artistic skills.

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  15. That's a cool camera (I probably shouldn't say this but I'm pretty sure I've seen these in action before, when I was a kid. I think they were then replaced with smaller ones, with the viewfinder on top, but I could be wrong?). You still see people use cameras kind of like this one, these days, for architecture, shots of buildings.

    The black and white pictures of Robin Maltete are very, very cool! Just spent a few minutes looking at the "humor" section, well worth the time! Will certainly return for more when I have more time.

    Thanks, Eric!

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  16. Cet appareil me rappelle la caméra qu'utilisait ma grand mère pour me montrer les films de famille tournés dans les années 45-50!
    C'est incroyable que le design n'ait pas changé en 50 ans!
    L'idée de prendre une photo à l'envers me perturbe et je pense qu'il faut effectivement connaître un peu la chose pour en sortir de belles photos.
    Tu as eu beaucoup de chance de rencontrer cet homme là Eric. Did you learn something about photography?

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  17. Impressive photography all around. To quote Orson Welles, "A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet." I think the same could be said of your stills. Ericles, though you didn't write "The Iliad", you are writing (chronicling) Parisian daily with your camera. Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

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  18. Many people envy your dinners and jewelry escapades but this is right up my alley! Lucky you, Eric!!

    René Maltete was an amazing photographer and I agree with TF that the B&W photos of Robin Maltete are quite cool. I love the camera poised at the window...Ahhh..Paris!! By the way, the photo from yesterday was quite magical...I would love to wake up and look at that fountain every day!

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  19. Eric

    I have seen the Maltete photos before! I think they were in a powerpoint presentation you sent me a year or so ago...Very, very funny! I do love them!

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  20. Except for the fact that I almost spilled my wine as I flipped my laptop over to see the image in the camera, I really like this photo! The camera is unlike anything I've ever seen. And I really like the intricate black railing against the lush green outside the window. Ah Paris.

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  21. Wow! What a cool camera! I'm am totally enthralled with my digital SLR, but this is something in a different class. My "someday-I-want-to-learn-more-about" camera type. I imagine that the images are amazing.

    Eric, thanks for the lovely things you introduce us to every day! We really appreciate you and your dedication to this blog and to all of us as well!

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  22. Eric -- I love it that Robin Maltete contacted you after seeing that post. And how nice that he's put all his father's amazing photos on the Web for us all to enjoy.
    Once again -- thanks for sharing. When I was there in the sixties, I worked in a modeling agency, so most of the photogs I knew were doing fashion. My two faves were Jeanloup Sieff (definitely not the norm) and Just Jaeckin (before he moved into the world of softcore films).

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  23. Eric, very nicely done holding the detail in the ground glass. I still use my 4x5 camera occasionally, but preferring instant gratification tend to use digital most of the time. Once in a while when feeling either contemplative (or masochistic) I will use the large format film for a change of pace.

    Cheers!

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  24. I am not sure it would be fun taking a picture with a hospital monitor...

    The view from the window looks nice though.

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  25. I love your shot of it. Nice that you chose to post the one from the side instead of head-on. Really lovely.

    Does Maltête mean "bad head"? He sure made wonderful photos. I got lost in them for a while and almost forgot to come back and comment.

    Misawa mama, you always have something interesting to say.

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  26. I don't know, today's photo looks kind of torch-like, as in passing the torch?

    It is interesting that the camera itself is a light source but it's passively ingesting the brightness from a distance.

    Rene Maltete's photos were a blast. To have taken just one of those would have been a major achievement but all of them? C'est incroyable.

    It must be a great feeling to rub shoulders with and in some way touch noted Parisian photographers. We know that feeling. That's why we visit this site.

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  27. chuck -- I love the digital, but still have a fridge full of photo paper. Need to haul out the "real" camera (a Pentax Spotmatic) one of these days, load it up with b&w film and shoot a bunch of stuff, then rent darkroom space, which still exists -- you bring the negatives and the paper, they supply everything else -- and spend a few hours (with my daughter Lila, who knows knows her way around a darkroom a bit better than I do anymore) creating beautiful images the old-fashioned way. Nothing like it.
    TG -- I'm w/you -- got a kick out of Maltete's photos. He had such a sense of humor! Meanwhile, the camera itself makes me think of Matthew Brady or Ansel Adams.

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  28. Many of Rene Maltete's photos have a delicious sense of humor, and he had a keen eye for detail -- which you do, too, Eric. Now, I'll have to get out my book of Doisneau's photos to complete the scene...

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  29. Not sure what happened there, but the comment from (the nonexistant) Christine was really from me. Poltergeist, perhaps???

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  30. Tall Gary > "It must be a great feeling to rub shoulders with and in some way touch noted Parisian photographers. We know that feeling. That's why we visit this site."
    Aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwhhh!

    Actually, yes, it was quite something to meet someone who is - very - related to René Maltête [BTW Petrea, Maltête is more likely to mean "ugly head" - sorry, that is only the origin of the name, nothing to do with the current bearers!! - than "headache"].

    Vicky. You're right I already received a Powerpoint with his photos too, but I had no idea I would meet his son one day.

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  31. I have to admit I've never heard of the Maltetes before, neither father or son.I like his photos very much.
    How cool you got in touch with him Eric. You really get some interesting experiences and lead such an eventful life, and it's so great that you'll share a bit of it with us at PDP, thank you !

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  32. Eric: demandez à votre ami photographe s'il a déjà vu des appareils comme celui-ci

    http://www.revelateur.com/scripts/gestart/article.php?ID=80&ORDR=1

    car il me semble que les professionnels se servaient encore beaucoup de ce genre de modele (enfin une version un peu plus moderne, mais pas tres differente) dans les annees 60 et meme au debut des annees 70. Et bien sur il y avait des modeles sur trepied, a plaque, qui ressemblaient enormement a celui-ci (mais ça, ça remonte vraiment a tres longtemps, debut 60? quand on avait encore des "anciens francs" et des autobus à plateform! )

    Malheureusement, je n'ai pas le temps de faire la recherche internet ce soir, dommage.

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  33. What a fabulous connection you made! Thank you -- again -- for sharing with us. I almost feel as though I'm beginning to experience an exciting Parisian life vicariously through Eric and PDP!

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  34. A cool picture depicting a cool encounter. The B&W photos in the web album link were amazing. The W dinner party photo was a treat to see again.

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  35. 36 comments! amazing! I feel like being kind of "star of the day".

    Here are some responses and details:

    petra > yes, maltête comes from "mauvaise tête", "tête mal faite", that means in ancient french "bad head", or "head poorly made"

    tomate farcie > yes, i used before a rolleiflex, a very good camera, quiet, good for portraits because people don't feel aggressed (you watch your camera down instead of at eyes level). My father used this one before to buy an hasselblad.

    jeff > i live in front of a place and a school in Malakoff, south of paris (close to montparnasse). The view in the camera is from my living room, pointing to street and school in front of.

    pointgirl > my flat was built in 1905 (nice oak floor, hight roof, fireplace in winter), see where on former reply, and yes, i am open...

    About the camera : it is a brand new shen-hao 8x10 (chinese brand). I plan to take some pictures in bali where i go next week. As a "bad head", i wanted to find the most complicated thing to bring to a vulcano located in Lombok, the closest island, at an altitude of 3500 meters. There is no roads to get there, so i will have to hire a guy for a trek to get the top (3 days of trek).
    The other reason to choose this camera was the beauty of the camera itself (ebony + aluminium), and my devotion to Richard Avedon who used something very similar for his masterpiece portrait book "in the american west". By the way, you can see now in Paris a great retrospective of his work in the "musée du jeu de paume", a nice place near concorde.

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  36. Robin -- your shen-hao truly is a thing of beauty. Can't believe you're going to trek three days with it, to a volcano! Would love to see the photos you'll take there.
    My father used a rolleiflex when I was little, even for what you'd call family "snapshots." Wish I had it now.

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  37. Alexa -- In France we say "impossible isn't french" (which is very arrogant, i know). I like so much being different, it's pathetic!
    I will send you a link when i will come back (if i come back from "the island of gods"...).
    It will surely be inside my flickr pages.
    robin

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  38. I just happened to tell someone yesterday, "le mot 'impossible' n'existe pas dans la langue francaise." She looked at me like I was crazy (maybe because she doesn't speak French).
    Will definitely look for those photos -- merci!

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  39. Robin, a three day trek sounds pretty cool. Let us know about the photos. You have many good qualities, including talent and a sense of adventure. Your name doesn't describe you very well! It seems to me your head is well made.

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  40. Robin...welcome to PDP. You are articulate as well as talented behind the camera. If you like volcanoes, check out Antigua, Guatemala. I think you'd appreciate the visual beauty and charm of Volcan Agua and Fuego and Pacaya and....:-)

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  41. alexa -- sorry, the word "impossible" exists in french (i guess that it comes from latin), of course. We say "impossible n'est pas français" as a proverb to push french to do crazy things like crossing atlantic sea alone in a rowing boat, the pacific sea with a windsurf, building a useless iron tower of 300 meters in 1889, re-creating olympic games after a parenthesis of 2000 years, giving for free the photographic invention to the world, etc...

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  42. I wouldn't know how to operate that monster and I didn't know cameras like that still existed. Look forward to seeing the links, Robin, when you do return.

    Pont girl: LOL

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  43. Eric, I just wanted to say thanks again for always being inspiring and fun to visit. I first found your blog because I was looking at pictures in prepration for our visit to Paris in July (can't wait!!!) and have since taken up the Edinburgh DP - it's changed my life, I've discovered a great passion for photography and made lots of new blog friends!

    Keep it up.

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  44. robin -- and that's just a partial list!
    (Merci de m'avoir corrige -- I'm glad to know the correct expression.)
    Eric -- I think you've inspired a whole lot of people to get out there with their camera.

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  45. He certainly has, Alexa.

    This phenomenon is Eric's creation.

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  46. Camera or not, the point is to get out there and LOOK! SEE! See how that woman on her phone over there stands right in the hand of the sculpture between you as you sit haveing lunch in the Tuileries. See how the woman next to you at Cafe Richelieu is sitting in the pose of Ingres' bather in the harem. See how the two students examining posters at le Jardin du Luxembourg seem to pose for us. See how people on Ponts des Arts resemble the woman viewing etchings by Watteau in the Louvre. See it? If you want to take a picture, great. But see it first. A good photographer does one, then shoots to let us see it, too.

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  47. Robin Maltête, "36 comments! amazing! I feel like being kind of "star of the day"." LOL I'm still smiling. You are the Star of the Day!

    I can feel your excitement about going to photo a volcano. I took photos of volcanoes in the 90's on the Big Island in Hawaii. One I could not walk out to -- so I flew over it in a helicopter to take the photos. It was something that I had always dreamed of doing and it did change my life and my artwork.

    "yes, i am open..." What a coincidence! I just happen to be open too. I would love to get together with you. :))) I just had to say it. I wanted to be 1st!

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  48. I agree with Lois Robin, you ARE the star of the day! Actually it's very nice of you to have answered people's comments.

    Have a nice trip to Bali (with your camera monster!) and show us a couple of photos you took when you return.

    >Jeff. About your "see first" comment. I could not agree more;)

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  49. Ah Eric, thank you for seemingly bringing the whole world together on your blog. This photo of Robin's camera just sings "Paris!" What fun to have made another new friend, and now introducing him to us all. Bravo!
    -Kim
    Seattle Daily Photo

    PS-Robin, I never knew photography originated in France! -K

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  50. Robin Maltete: J'ai regarde le hasselblad sur Internet, ca me semble bien familier. C'est a dire que je me souviens surtout de la position du viewfinder dessus, et c'est bien vrai qu'ils avaient des manivelles sur le cote!

    Merci beaucoup, c'est vraiment gentil d'avoir repondu! Bon WE!

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  51. kim -- Photography was invented in France in 1826 by Nicéphore Niepce, in Chalon-sur-saone (the elder photographic labo was found recently close to Chalon). A bit after, French government give money to the inventors (daguerre improved the process later) and decided to communicate it to the world for free. Imagine that we had taken a patent: every kind of picture, including hollywood cinema would have to give money to France for using pictures... better than oil in term of money, i guess...
    You have very nice pictures in your blog. I have done some pictures in seattle too, and i loved this city.

    Lois and Petrea -- Thanks for compliments, i am lucky you never met me!

    I think i will have to explain someday what is "large format photography": it is very interesting how you can control the perspective, the depth of field, and of course the level of quality you get. Just think about Ansel Adams pictures to have an idea.

    As said before, if i come back (bali is a kind of paradise of beauty, spirituality, with perfect climate and good food, and more: some of the first holland soldiers asked to colonisate bali didn't want to come back after seeing the pretty topless girls there...), i will show you the results of my crazy quest.

    I will have only 2 shots available for the whole trek: i have only one back for the moment (100€ each), where you put one negative on each side !
    To be honest, i will probably cheat: i have also a digital camera, but i would like to try not to use it to be in same condition as photo pionners.
    The "easy and immediate" digital cameras gives me the contrarian desire of thinking a lot before taking THE shoot. Of course, it will probably be a disaster, i will forget something, or miss the shoot, or open the negative box before by mistake, all kind of stress before the development back in Paris. Doesn't matter: what is interesting in traveleing is the traveling by itself, not the target.

    Sorry for speaking too much about me and for my poor english: i hope it can interest somebody, and blame french teachers for it.
    Robin.

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  52. Your English is wonderful, Robin, and you don't speak too much! It's very interesting. Only two shots? You are indeed a pioneer. I hope you'll post them on the web when you come back. Have a wonderful trip (and take your digital camera, too!)

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  53. i finally have done some pictures on mount Batur (2 hours trekking to get in), during a royal cremation, and inside some rice fields.
    i will post them soon.

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  54. Merci Robin. My photos of Hawaii look similar in some places. The cliff where the king backed all the opposition soldiers (despite their wanting to surrender) into jumping/falling off of. Drama! I like the B&W - looks like another planet -- maybe the moon if it had vegetation. hmmmmmmm Anyway, love the B&W.

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  55. Thanks for posting these, Robin, they're great. Mysterious.

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