I’ve been taking pictures in Baltimore since 2002. Around seven years ago I started using a medium format twin lens reflex (TLR) camera and it completely changed how I take pictures. These large, old, clunky cameras only allow 12 exposures per roll, but the disadvantages are more than made up for by the tremendous detail that can be gleaned from the square 2 ¼ inch negative. I use several different TLR cameras both for handheld daytime shots and for long exposures at night, requiring the use of a tripod. I work with several different types of film, some of which, sadly, are no longer made. Luckily Kodak, Fuji and others still manufacture several varieties, but I will miss Fuji T64, Fuji Astia, Kodak Ektachrome and other stocks that all have their own unique character.
Because of their novelty, using a TLR has attracted a lot of interest from people I meet on the street. The camera, which requires you to look down into the viewfinder rather than holding it up to the eye, is typically less threatening to others and has allowed me to get pictures I might not otherwise. While I enjoy all kinds of photographic formats like digital, 35mm, instant film, etc., medium format film photography makes up most of what I do. Not only are the results I get worth the effort, but I’ve found framing through a TLR’s viewfinder to be a beautiful way to look at the world.-Patrick Joust