Tools: I've owned a lot of cameras and lenses over the years. It has taken time to realize I can say more with less equipment. I own a 35mm Leica analogue rangefinder camera that I purchased nearly twenty years ago and two lenses. Sharpness, grainy contrast, and clarity are staples of Leica optics that caused an epiphany when I held the magnifying loupe close to my eye when viewing my first set of developed negatives on the light table. This camera has always accompanied me and continues to be my most reliable tool. The metal on the camera body and lens barrel have worn over time, adding to the camera's distinct character, one that sets it apart from modern digital cameras.
My second go-to analogue camera is a 1960's square format twin lens camera called a Rolleiflex that I purchased on consignment at a local camera store in New York. The consignor was selling his mother's beloved collection of three. Twin lens reflex camera have two lenses, one for viewing and one for taking. The shutter is built in the taking lens. The lens has a single layer of coating that renders an image with little contrast, grain and sharpness. The lens is prone to flare when shooting directly into the light. A master silver gelatin printer once told me "always shoot black and white with single coated lenses". The lens on this camera also delivers pale colored images. The camera takes larger roll film and each roll has twelve exposures, causing one to slow down and take their time. This tool is a gem.
A penchant for film photography: Using film in today's digital age is a way to set oneself apart from the massive pool of photographers. Especially family portrait photographers. It's far more efficient to run a business using a digital camera. There is less post production work to do. I'm an artist first and a businessman second, and therefore decide to work in a medium that complements my photographic style and personality. Film looks better and feels more real. Realism is implicit in my work. Therefore, I choose film.
Photographing mother of two weeks with her newborn daughter with 1960's Rolleiflex (photo by Butch Vicencio)