People sometimes complain that I show too many NY and LA photographers. Or too many women photographers. (hey, I show what’s good and original,…I don’t care about your gender). But today I’m showing a ‘street photographer’ who is really a “street” photographer. And using a Hasselblad xPan camera for most of his work. Now if there was a camera/format that in and of itself made you “original” in street photography, it would be the Hassy xPan. While most users of this wonderful camera would dedicate it to landscape only, Mathias Sweet is thinking outside the box.
Beyond the xPan
However, he does use a Pentax MX occasionally and his Hasselblad 503cw, but it’s the panoramic format that most suits his vision. He develops and hand prints all his work, and is quick to share his methods. Mostly, he uses Rodinal with Ilford FP4. Although he does use HP5 about 10% of the time. Hey, when you need the extra sensitivity, you need the extra sensitivity. But that’s not the secret of those luscious blacks. It’s all in the wrist. (agitation)
I do this all the time. Tell people my cameras used, film used, lenses used. Some photographers think what they do is a big secret. But even after I tell people, they still can’t reproduce my images. So, they’re not “secrets” after all. Mathias Sweet “secrets” are mostly using FP4 and Rodinal. And he’s kind enough to share it with the world. He does 2 inversions every minute for the first 5 minutes, then lets it sit for 5 minutes, inverts twice, then lets it it sit for another 5 minutes and dump. Yes, development times, agitation, film and chemicals all make a difference. While this may shorten the dynamic range, Mathias Sweet has found his voice in blacks that will melt your heart. But the imaging is all Mathias.
Another Midwest Wonder
New York is not the be all, end all. Mathias Sweet was born in 1987 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he still lives and works. I liken him to the late, great mid-west artist Ralph Eugene Meatyard, producing striking work well beyond the bounds of his Google geospatial existence. His desire to express himself through photography and personal vision is paramount. A client propelled vision has not been his cup of tea. Romanticizing the prosaic is.
Visit his website below to contact him for exhibits and one of a kind prints. Panoramic prints are the new chic in the art community. The train is leaving the station,…so get on board.