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Josh Rouse, shot in a south London studio on an old Soviet Iskra

I recently spent a few weeks travelling around Barcelona and Morocco, wandering the streets with a shoulder bag with a couple of cameras and a handful of film.

This trip, I took along a camera I’ve neglected for too long – the KMZ Iskra, a 6×6 folding rangefinder which dates from the 1960s. It’s a beautifully crafted, compact medium format camera, with a truly fantastic lens, and it’s superbly suited to travel. Though I only managed to shoot with it on the last morning of the trip, some of the results were fantastic.

The Iskra is also a fantastic portrait camera. I recently shot a friend’s promotional pics ahead of her first book, and took along a Nikon F100 with an 85mm lens and a mix of film. At the last minute I took along the Iskra, and got the best shot of the day on it.

I’ve made a promise to use the Iskra more this summer – be it out on the road, exploring south London or shooting portraits. Vintage cameras should be used. Vintage cameras that are in such good shape and take such good pictures as this Iskra should be used all the time.

The picture you see above is from nearly a decade ago. It comes from a session I did back in 2005 with US singer-songwriter Josh Rouse, ahead of his album Subtitulo. I shot most of the session on a Kiev 60 – a massive 6×6 SLR camera from Ukraine – but brought along the Iskra too. The studio had an upstairs room with bright white brick walls and a skylight letting in the overcast winter light. I took one film during a break from the shoot downstairs; this is the nicest of them, shot at around f3.5 to turn the brick walls into a creamy blur.

More of my old Iskra shots can be found on Flickr. In the coming months, I hope to have added quite a few more.

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