Classic photographers who just use one lens

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Rob Skeoch, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    983
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I'm trying to build up a list of some of the great photographers who used only one lens for most of their work.
    People often say Henri Carrier-Bresson traveled the world with just a 50mm. I have no idea if this is true or not, but thought I would ask.

    If you know of any shooters, mostly photojournalist, who did major work with just one lens please let me know.

    -Rob Skeoch
     
  2. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

    Messages:
    616
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Rogers, AR
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't know of any. Cartier-Bresson did not use just one lens.
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    He used more then one lens later in his career. Usually a 35mm, instead of the 50mm. Don't think he went wider then that.

    His early work used only a 50mm lens because that's what was available on the early Leica cameras. Once the system grew, he added an extra lens or two. Don't know if he every used a 90mm lens.
     
  4. prado333

    prado333 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Richard Misrach 300mm , Lee Friedlander 38mm Biogon( not entire career but a significant body of work), Richard Avedon (80mm lens in rolleiflex and a 360mm in 8x10),Vivian Maier 80mm Rolleiflex.
     
  5. MDR

    MDR Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Werner Bischoff only used Rolleiflex TLRs and created some of the best Magnum photos ever (beats HCB in my opinion), No photojournalist but famous Imogen Cunningham tended to use the normal lens for the formats she used from the mid 30's on she mostly used the Rolleiflex.
    Fritz Henle mister Rolleiflex used TLRs for most of his career 75 or 80mm lens only.

    Did Arbus use different lenses on her Mamiyaflex or did she prefer one focal lenght?

    Dominik
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My wife shoots all her family photos with a 50/1.8 on her DSLR. The tighter framing than normal really makes you fill the frame and think about composition. I'm the photo snob, she's the mom with the camera, and I think she does great (and her facebook friends and fam like her photos) It's also very smooth background and works well in low light without flash. Beats to pieces all the point and shoot cameras and kit zooms. All things that transfer to film use well. I mostly use a 50 as well, but I'm somewhat afflicted with GAS and are more apt to use lens variety and camera variety.

    Anyone that was famous for liking their rolleiflex would indeed be a good example. Vivian Maier is a more recent example. Many famous photographers of old used rolleiflexes as a tool but not their only tool.

    George Hurrell used a couple different lenses, but generally changing only after years of use. "Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits" describes him quitting a studio and taking his verito with him.
     
  7. rthomas

    rthomas Member

    Messages:
    1,182
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I recall that the early photojournalist Erich Salomon used an Ermanox camera (which took 6x4.5cm plates), with a fixed 85mm f/2 lens, for most of his work. This was supposedly the first of the miniature cameras equipped with a fast standard lens. I read somewhere that he also used an early Leica but I don't know what lens(es) that would include.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,541
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    H.C.B used 2 Leica bodys with 35,50 and 90 mm lenses.
     
  9. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

    Messages:
    905
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Henry Wessel, Leica with a 28mm, for his black and white work.

    Roger
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,997
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    jacques henri lautrigue ?
     
  11. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

    Messages:
    4,184
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I believe John Sexton created all the images in his first book "Quiet Light" with a 210mm lens (4x5).
     
  12. MDR

    MDR Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Helmut Newton was another Rolleiflex TLR user and had quite a few of them, he did use other cameras though. Nicolas Tikhomiroff another nearly Magnum Guy who liked his Rolleiflex. Herbert List Magnum and Rolleiflex. Raymond Cauchetier the photographer of the Nouvelle Vague loved his Rolleiflex and even left Magnum because of it. All four created their most famous work with Rolleiflex TLRs. Many LF guys only use one lens for most of their work.
     
  13. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,367
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There are many more photographers of mention who used only one lens than there are who didn't. One thing to notice when looking at this is that most stay in the slightly wide-normal to slightly long-normal range, avoiding extreme wides and telephotos.

    Using one lens is an easy way to start getting some optical consistency in your photographs. It helps link images in the same way subject matter does.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. batwister

    batwister Member

    Messages:
    919
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would guess all of the typological photographers.
     
  16. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,118
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Location:
    Hamburg, DE
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not classic (yet) but: Vivian Maier - one camera, one lens: Rolleiflex.
     
  17. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,963
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How can anyone use more than one lens at a time? Shoot two cameras simultaneously? :smile:
     
  18. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,367
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Look at Keith Carter's first 4 or 5 books: Hassy with an 80mm. Doesn't get any more classic than that. Keith doesn't lack for passion or imagination, either.

    I saw a "photographer" in Piedmont Park once, and he had three bodies with different lenses hanging around his neck, plus a fanny pack and two shoulder bags. It was hysterical. I wish I had made a photograph of him because he kind of had to waddle with all that gear. You just can't work that way...

    With one lens, you think about the subject, and where to place your feet and your body in relation to it. With more than one lens, you start thinking about lenses!
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,830
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A TLR comes to mind :whistling:
     
  20. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,666
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Sterographers did!
     
  21. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

    Messages:
    780
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Atget I believe used just one Rapid Rectilinear...
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,085
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    John Gay (two lenses actually - on a Rolleiflex).


    Steve.
     
  23. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

    Messages:
    1,428
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    The Armpit o
    Shooter:
    Multi Format


    I was just about to submit Keith's name to the thread.


    He is just down the road from me in Beaumont. I haven't worked up the nerve to ask him to carry his bags for him when he goes out for a shoot... but I'd sure love to!
     
  24. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

    Messages:
    1,428
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    The Armpit o
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  25. MDR

    MDR Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Steve Pyke a well know british photographer is pretty much a Rolleiflex only user. Amazing how versatile the Rolleiflex is.
     
  26. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

    Messages:
    729
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bernard Plossu's main works were done with a Nikkormat and a 50mm Nikkor lens.