Whole Roll Project: Matthew Joseph – Bessa L + 15mm + finger

Matthew Joseph has developed quite a reputation for wide angle photographic landscapery. He wasn’t always a slick ‘every shot’s a winner’ exponent of this photographic genre however. In this edition of the Whole Roll Project he shares his first ever Super Wide Angle roll, shot with a 15mm lens strapped to a Voigtlander Bessa L.


My Bessa L & 15mm *SOLD*
Photographer: Matthew Robert Jospeh

Camera: Voigtlander Bessa L – 15mm lens loaded with some dodgy 400 speed colour film.

Processed: At that place in ChCh where Matt used to work.

I thought I’d first share a contact sheet from almost 10 years ago. It’s not a fantastic roll, it’s not even an ok roll, but it is a special roll, it was my first time using a super wide angle lens. There is only one decent shot on it.

The camera, a Voigtlander Bessa L & 15mm Super Wide Angle had sat on the second hand shelf at work for ages. One day a colleague of mine decided to put a roll through it for fun and when I saw the results I was in love! So I decided to have a go.

It was a sunny, Winter, Sunday afternoon in Christchurch (a rare event) and I had just finished work so I signed the camera out, put a roll of film in it and took some photos on the way home.

MjosephF1000001Frame 1: The tree near my work, oops forgot to focus, it must have been set to the closest focussing mark, you don’t normally have to worry about focussing a super wide angle.

MjosephF1000002 MjosephF1000003Frame 2: The church near my work, it doesn’t look like this now, that’s for sure. I think I remembered to focus. Frame 3: Inside my car, oh yeah, that’s wide.

MjosephF1000004Frame 4: Shipping containers, worth their weight in gold in Christchurch now.
I’m ¾ of the way home, there wasn’t anything interesting to shoot before this.

What is that thing down the bottom of my frame?

MjosephF1000005Frame 5: More shipping containers, hey that looks like my finger.

MjosephF1000006Frame 6: Fifty. The only decent shot on the roll, I may have originally uploaded it to photo.net, some douche canoe on Flickr didn’t like that I had put the sign in the middle, oh well. A version of this photo once even appeared on men’s undies.

MjosephF1000007 MjosephF1000008Frame 7: Storage sheds – meh, boring. Probably forgot to set the aperture and shutter speed also. Frame 8: My car, that’s gone now too.

MjosephF1000009Frame 9: Old house, probably gone, finger in the way.

MjosephF1000010 MjosephF1000011Frame 10: Fence, finger in the way. Frame 11: Drain, finger in the way.

MjosephF1000012Frame 12: Historic rail bridge, they spent heaps on it so it’s not gone, finger in the way.

MjosephF1000013Frame 13: Keep out sign, almost no finger.

MjosephF1000014 MjosephF1000015Frame 14: Historic rail bridge again, again more finger. Frame 15: Tofu shop, some finger. I knew someone who worked here but I hadn’t met them when I took this.

MjosephF1000016Frame 16: Historic pub, had a Guinness, finger. The pub isn’t there anymore.

MjosephF1000017 MjosephF1000018Frame 17: Train with Maltworks in the background, Maltworks is gone but not because of earthquake, plenty of finger. Frame 18: Old fence, no finger, wow.

MjosephF1000019 MjosephF1000020Frame 19: Maltworks again, no finger, amazing.
Frame 20: Another old house, probably gone, lots’o finger.

MjosephF1000021Frame 21: My bedroom, nearly gone, no finger.

MjosephF1000022Frame 22: View from my balcony right, gone, no finger.

MjosephF1000023Frame 23: View from my balcony front, no finger.

The problem was I was holding the lens like it was a normal focal length – so what you are seeing is my left index finger bent under the lens. If you kind of squint at the photos it looks like I am mooning the camera in a strange way.

So there you have it, being awesome at super and ultra wide angles is not something you’re born with. There was only one decent shot on the whole roll and it still didn’t discourage me from liking wide angles and trying again, it may have even made me more determined.

Earlier this year I managed to get some finger under the lens of my 43mm for the Mamiya 7, it was wider than I thought it was, which is a good thing.

Next time I am going to share one of my best rolls ever!


Thank you Matthew, I’m pretty sure you can shop some of those fingers out, or replace them with meerkats, – at least your finger obeyed the rule of thirds.

You can see more of Matt’s work via his website and the flickr.

Yep – a new lens can mean a whole new world, and for the bolt-on viewfinder using types out there, it can mean the occasional “digital” photograph… heh.. get it… digital… digits,,, hmmmm….

Try the wine!

Thanks for your contribution Matthew. Our next Whole Roll Project will deviate from the pattern so far and transform into a Whole Pack Project, as we share our first instant film a whole Pack of Fuji FP 3000B shot by Lea Williams on a Polaroid 220 Land Camera.

If you’d like to share a whole roll with us, don’t let me stop you.

Until next time, keep on believing.

Chris Zissiadis



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