Lenses: Part 2

What do you choose when you’re in search of ex­tremes?

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wide-an­gle will almost never be on the cam­era. I will shoot with the tele­photo two or three times be­fore I ever go to the wide-an­gle.” Even Walker Evans, fa­mous for his ‘plain­spo­ken’ record of De­pres­sion­era Amer­ica, was fas­ci­nated with the com­press­ing ef­fect of a tele­photo lens, fully stopped down, as part of his style of ‘pure record’.

What­ever drives this ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, it’s found typ­i­cally among pho­tog­ra­phers who need to be able to jump from one sub­ject, as­sign­ment and cre­ative brief to another. It’s no sur­prise, then, that ad­ver­tis­ing pho­tog­ra­phers and the fast-dis­ap­pear­ing breed of gen­eral mag­a­zine pho­tog­ra­phers are the ones who are most likely to carry a wide range of fo­cal lengths in their large cam­era bags.

For in­stance, when ul­tra-wide lenses (mean­ing any­thing shorter than 28mm) be­gan to be used by pro­fes­sion­als in mass-mar­ket pub­li­ca­tions in the early 1960s, they were con­tro­ver­sial for their

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