Romantic Intangibles with Cyril Muller

As photographers and techno-geeks worldwide sing the death toll of analog photography, Cyril Muller rediscovers the joy of film through two unique cameras–a Polaroid SX-70 and Hasselblad X-Pan–and discovers that the romantic intagibles of film lend it a quality that cannot be reproduced through any amount of digital manipulation.

The romantic intangibles make shooting film an endearing process; my digital Canon 5D sounds very vague and seems to say, “You better check the screen now to see if that turned out sharp,” while the SX-70 sounds irrevocable: “You pressed the button, so there goes your print. And by the way—that will cost you two bucks.”

Looking through the viewfinder of these cameras completely changes your approach to a shot; shooting the Xpan wasn´t very easy at the beginning, because my eyes were so trained to traditional formats, not this panoramic frame which is twice as wide. All the “rules” I had heard, learned, or made up about composition and balance were useless—I was back to trusting my eye. Over time, the additional space started to blend in, make sense, and finally make the shot.

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