My passion for black and white led me to know the works of the great North American photographer Ansel Adams. From him I learned his great contribution to photography: the zone system.
I read his books The Negative and The Print. I bought a field camera--a Zone VI made in the U.S.--a wooden field camera, which when folded gets quite small and is relatively light. I started using the zone system.
The result was, in addition to a large increase in the quality of my work, a different way of seeing photography. Photography with a field camera has to be considered in a more thoughtful, studied, and relaxed way.
When you take a picture, you have to study the scene a lot--composition, framing, lights--and overall visualize how the result will be in black and white.
At the lab, each negative is developed alone, according to the notes taken while taking the picture and according to the test parameters made for each kind of film.
The result is a balanced negative with a right tonal range. With this negative, you can get an expressive copy when making the print (dodging and burning, etc.). This copy allows the author to express his creativity, putting on paper the visualization of the image that he first chose.
Joan Buch, from the ovens to the darkness of the laboratory.
There is nothing that Buch finds more relaxing to fight the stress of the kitchen than using his moments of freedom to go for a walk with his 4” x 5” camera with a single objective: making the photo.
He enjoys the tranquility of the loneliness that the forest offers him, surrounded by fog and dew early in the morning. Or he can be found next to the waves of a lonely beach, a place to put his tripod, or maybe looking for those architectonic places that he sees through the groundglass of the camera, feeling as a part of those forms, lights and shadows of this urban landscape that he’s about to register. Or he can be enjoying the loneliness of his improvised studio where he organizes the still life that he has been working on in his mind and that he’ll set in his personal style.
This is Joan Buch, completely serene, ready to create that image that will become unique.
All this work won’t be finished until it enters the darkness of the laboratory, where he’ll create the images with his peculiar style, with his also inseparable “Beseler” and the trays filled with the chemicals that will make the final print truly amazing.
This entire process will lead us to enjoy extremely accurately framed pictures, an exquisite quality, and of course a visual attractiveness that becomes a pleasure for our eyes to see.
Jaume Estapé i Aliaga. President of Foto-Cine Mataró in UEC
Place: El Casal. Francesc i Benet Artigas. Vilassar de Dalt