Air cooled Porsches, black and white analogue photography and a Leica rangefinder. What’s not to like?
Bart Kuykens’ project A Flat Six Love Affair is quite probably heaven on so many levels. Watching him in the film opening another roll of Kodak 35mm brings back many happy memories for me. Memories of a time when photography wasn’t quite as urgent, as instant as it has to be today. When photo shoots were more leisurely affairs, the moments of changing over film rolls were punctuation marks to pause for reflection as you contemplated what the next 36 shots would be all about.
I can almost feel the small carton of 35mm film in my hands and recall the intuitive way I used to be able to change rolls almost without looking down. The unique aroma of freshly opened film stock was something special for me, returning home with empty cardboard cartons scattered around the car interior, the exposed film secured inside the small plastic drums tempered with anticipation of what was to come from the lab.
There’s a lot I can identify with in Bart’s Flat Six Love Affair book series. His love of the rangefinder style of camera, in truth, is something I have only recently discovered. While my Sony A6300 digital isn’t up there with his industrial strength Leica, I am relishing the freedom of small, lightweight cameras. His grainy Kodak 400TX is something I loved playing with too, though I was generally more of a FujiChrome ISO50 person myself. I did enjoy Kodak’s ISO400, which back then felt as if it could see in the dark. In our digital quest for the perfectly sharp, noise free image at any ISO, we seem to have lost track of what a great picture should ‘look’ like.
Bart’s seven book project started out as a step into the unknown. Reaching out to Porsche 911 owners, he asked them to be featured in his book. Seven books was the plan, each one with a different letter on the spine to spell out Porsche. Letter P was Bart putting himself out there, risking failure to see if when he loved and enjoyed, others would feel the same way too. And it worked, as in the film he recalls that everyone who bought the first book, then bought the second too.
And as word spread and the featured owners introduced others to the concept, he has found a ready appetite from Porsche owners who want to share their love of their cars with the rest of the world. Book number two features Walter Rohrl and other notable people from the history of Porsche, as well as more owners of cars who just thought it was a cool idea.
As for his Porsches? Bert admits he doesn’t have the funds to own as many as he would like. Instead, he moves them along, constantly on the quest to find another elusive, engaging Porsche to replace his current drive.
Pour yourself your favourite, take some time to watch this great film by the guys at Preamio. Their YouTube channel is well worth subscribing to, with an interesting style of documentary and some subjects you may not think would be interesting, but are.