Last August, photojournalist David Burnett was spotted using a large format camera at the London Olympics.
As you can imagine, shooting sports (you only get ONE frame… there is no such thing as “FPS”… its more like “FPM”) with a Speed Graphic is challenging in and of itself. Focus is always an issue. Loading the film in a timely manner and getting yourself where you need to be, while schlepping around two different systems is a constant challenge.That said, what I hoped to do was to create a set of pictures which kind of lets the viewer know what it was like being there, more so than necessarily getting any strictly “amazing action” pictures. It’s about trying to set the tone of what it’s like, and just how you “see” the events with a fairly “normal” lens (7″ on 4×5).
I have included the 4×5 work in my repertoire since 2004, when I started shooting on the political campaigns for President. After 35 years of following politics, the “look” which I was getting with the big camera was what appealed to me. In the early digital days, we were all shooting with more or less the same camera body, the same couple of zoom lenses, and the chance to come up with a different “look” was something I found worth the extra work.