Mark Rafaelov

I’m Mark, 33 right now, and here is my outlook on life through film photography.

I’ve been taking pictures for almost 10 years, but it all began as a b/w basics photo-course at the graphic design study in Israel.

My first cam was Nikon F65, well not actually that I owned, but it was there for students, as we were young, tough and desperately short of money then. This was an introduction for me, I was shooting Ilford Pan films, developing myself and even got entered a darkroom for handmade prints.

Soon after that I switched to some tiny mirrorless Olympus cam (can’t recall a model), and the whole picture became a raw file for manipulation. Well, as a graphic designer, I had to learn that side either, so I did, and spent couple of years on making what it calls “digital art”.

But I was missing that real feel of b/w film, touch of grain at 3200iso, the magic itself of print.

A serious step for me was my first manual camera, Nikon FM2 that is still with me, old school bright body, simple exposure metering, handy shutter dial, great balanced without a grip.
Despite it’s a full manual body I think this camera is the best that Nikon produced in film period.

A couple of years later I bought the 6×6 Kit, Pentacon with 4 Carl Zeiss lenses. What can I say, the whole picture suddenly switched to square, I was missing a lightness and playful feeling of 35mm, but hey, these are Germany made optics, all the Canon/Nikon stuff you’ve got now in comparison to Carl Zeiss just some toys.

But that Pentacon is familiar for its overlapping mechanism, and it produces unpredictable results on 120mm roll, so I had to give it up.

Now I’m shooting with Hasselblad 500 with Carl Zeiss 80mm f/2.8, Carl Zeiss 50mm f/4, Carl Zeiss 180mm f/4, Nikon F3Hp, my favourite Nikon FM2, Nikkor 35mm f/2, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D, Nikkor 85 f/1.4D (well, it can beat German optics in some situations). I also have an old Yashica Mat124G (a Japanese copy of Rollei) but its light meter is dead, so I have to measure with Nikons.

My main target in photography is reporting, documentary projects, human problem issues etc. But here now I want to share some shots from ‘A feminine essence’ series, that I’ve been developing since I got a middle format in my hands.

All these are portraits captured in natural light, outside and indoors both, of beautiful women in different moods. The whole series can be found on my website, it was presented in some galleries and published as a book on blurb.

I hope my story was interesting, and not too long to read. Feel free to email me with any questions, creative proposals or job assignments.

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