Balda Baldessa 1b: I Think I Am In Love

16

When I was at school, and I was learning French, I never understood why the French language described inanimate objects as either masculine or feminine, similarly, in German. In the English language we just have things. It is a table. It is not feminine or masculine, transgender not even just going through a phase. It is simply a table nothing more. As I grew up and became more interested in my own language the thought of non gender specific objects disappointed me. I think for all the richness and complexity of the English language, for the times we were conquered and our language evolved; that we don’t feminise or masculinise objects is to our linguistic detriment. Of course the problem is that it is not the thing that is masculine or feminine, it is the prefix to the word itself in the construct of the language that denotes gender. So, in English a camera can never be referred to as male of female because the prefix “the” or “a” is with out gender and renders the object itself sexless. Or does it? My case and point to you is the Balda Baldessa

image from here

I found this camera on a market stall in the middle of York. It was a pretty dreary day and I wasn’t looking to buy a camera (at least that is what I told my wife, we all no Lomographers are always looking). I have to be honest with you when I saw this camera I believe it was in fact Love at first sight.

I find most cameras are boxy; it makes sense it a shape that works, sure their edges may be tapered but they are still square shouldered. But the Baldessa breaks the mould, just a little, but enough. The camera curves at both ends to the shape is elliptical rather that box. She sits in your hands rather than you having to hold her. This allows your hands to positively fondle the body. She has other female attributes besides her shape. She is an enigma. She isn’t formed like the other cameras where everything is obvious. Only though exploration can you find what makes her tick. It has taken me a long time to find the rewind mechanism (she may claim I still haven’t found it). She is a tease. For example the number counter when you wind on is not necessarily relevant to the picture you have just taken, clearly she knows the system but I don’t, meaning I think she is shooting when she is not. She has a built in light meter which tells you the settings to use for the shot but the results you get from manually setting are, in my opinion, superior. Like all women she knows this and therefore you have to work to get it. In order to manually set this lady you have to have patience. She is not designed for quick fly by the seat of your pants shooting. Each dial on her elegantly tapered lens moves individually but can be moved simultaneously so it often takes time to get it right. Her lens can shoot at 2.8 which is nice for those romantic candle light suppers, but if things get a little too dark then you can always use the hot shoe, personally I try not to because of how rich she makes ambient light look. . So all in all you really have to consider your shot perhaps negating the: Don’t think just shoot and Shoot from the hip rules of Lomo.

She is as unconventional as she is glorious. The shutter release sits on the front of the camera rather than on the top, so your fingers don’t grope her body, allowing a much more elegant release. To wind her on you have to use the secret winding mechanism which actually folds out from underneath the camera. She cannot be loaded in a hurry the film loads right to left rather than left to right and to load the film you have to hold down two buttons and wait for the whole back to spring off. It is all of these factors that make the Balda baldessa a very special camera, one that needs thought and consideration.

So, to conclude; The Balda Baldessa is not male or female because of the construction of language. She is female through a connection that I have made and while she may not be the best for the shoot from the hip style of Lomography, she is a great analogue camera.

written by mattcharnock on 2009-02-06 in #reviews #baldessa #35mm #rangefinder

16 Comments

  1. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    errr... sorry, but where are the pics?

  2. mattcharnock
    mattcharnock ·

    yeah where are the pics?

  3. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Matt, congrats again for this new fantastic review!! The "female" sensibility theme of your review about this camera is great. And I just thught that sometimes, when writing in english, I automatically use "he" or "she" depending of the cameras: some are very masculine, other more feminine...
    I had a great pleasure to read your review!

  4. lomodirk
    lomodirk ·

    Amusing review, nice gallery, well done Matt! :)

    My cameras are all girls :D

  5. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    Wow...# 6 reminds of an old Hollywood movie....Breakfast at Tiffany´s or something....great!

  6. oldskool_rider
    oldskool_rider ·

    matt your reviews are always a pleasure to read!
    this is just what i wanted to do 1st thing in the morning. she clearly is a gem of a camera. i love the shots, and next time im at a car boot or a charity shot, ill keep watch for a balda baldessa
    beautiful!

  7. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    lovely review and great gallery! Oh My!!!.... I'm having a G.A.S attak!

  8. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    exotic camera and carefully-chosen shots :) thanks for the pleasure!

  9. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    #4 is sooo cute!hehe

  10. stouf
    stouf ·

    Yeah !! Very cool review !

  11. babo
    babo ·

    Well... as allways I just love your reviews! Great camera, great pictures and an unbelivebly well written text to match them...
    just hope your wife doesn`t read your reviews... she would be sooo jealous!!

  12. kylewis
    kylewis ·

    Congrats great review!

  13. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    What a great camera and gallery to boot.

  14. anarchy
    anarchy ·

    I thought I had already commented on this one... Anyway, congrats Matt! This is an excellent review and it came as no surprise that it's the "review of the week" =) This camera sure is a beauty!!

  15. dogma
    dogma ·

    Love the first picture!

  16. syroneb
    syroneb ·

    I just found a Baldessa at an Antique shop and love "her". Interesting take on the review. I can see exactly what you mean, relating the camera to a woman. One of my favorite things about her is the wind. I love how it folds up and hides.

    Great review. I'm glad to have one too!

More Interesting Articles

  • Delicate, Feminine Portraiture by Sharon Heit

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-05-18 in #people #lifestyle
    Delicate, Feminine Portraiture by Sharon Heit

    The Seoul, South Korea-based photographer trains her lens on the female form and captures it beautifully. Please note that some of the images in this post are NSFW.

  • What Art Can Learn from the Banal

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-03-30 in #world #lifestyle
    What Art Can Learn from the Banal

    Stephen Shore introduced to the 70s art world an unadorned image of American life. He captured littered restaurant tables as other photographers would immaculate vistas. For the opening of “American Surfaces”, he even taped unframed snapshots on gallery walls. In these videos, Shore talks about objects that have “no pretention to art” and the things he learned from Andy Warhol.

    5
  • A Salute to the Masters: Mobile Communications (A Tribute to Raymond Depardon)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-11-22 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Mobile Communications (A Tribute to Raymond Depardon)

    This article is dedicated to the French street photographer Raymond Depardon and his wonderful series depicting people communicating with mobile phones from all over the world. For this tribute, I compiled my own series of photos of people using their mobile phones or tablets in the city of Como. Take a look!

  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • Lubitel 166+: Lubitel is for Lovers+

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-05 in #reviews
    Lubitel 166+: Lubitel is for Lovers+

    Lubitel for lovers+. You're probably wondering, "Why is there a '+'?" It's to describe and expand a whole new definition of the Lubitel - in this case, this camera is not only for lovers literally, but also for anyone who loves to shoot portraits, street scenes, objects, and the skies. Do you love to take photos of your lover, your dear friend, your lovely family, your pet, or at the streets? This camera can be used in ALL situations. You can shoot everything that you love with it!

  • Agfa Precisa CT 35mm: The Blues!

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-12 in #reviews
    Agfa Precisa CT 35mm: The Blues!

    I don't care if this film has been reviewed a zillion times, that it has already been discontinued, or that there might be a Japanese version of it. The Agfa CT Precisa that I know gives me the blues. Oh, yes - not a Chelsea FC fan, but this film is all about the color blue. Say hello to the blues!

    7
  • Lomo'Instant Boston Competition

    written by jacobs on 2015-03-03 in #gear #news #competitions
    Lomo'Instant Boston Competition

    What comes to mind when you think of Boston? Maybe it's the Red Sox, or maybe it's Baked Beans? With our newest competition to celebrate the release of the Lomo'Instant Boston Edition, we want to know what Boston means to you. Even if you've never been to Boston — no problem! We want to see your best shots that represent Boston to you!

    1
  • Shop News

    LomoKino Basic Package Services

    LomoKino Basic Package Services

    Process your LomoKino films the right way! Get scans, movie and negatives. This is the easiest way to turn those movie rolls into completed masterpieces! Check this service now!(Service availability depends on your markets)

  • Portside Fashion Photos with New Petzval 58 by the Talented Issa Ng

    written by minawoo on 2015-06-24 in #people #lifestyle
    Portside Fashion Photos with New Petzval 58 by the Talented Issa Ng

    It is our pleasure to have yet another opportunity to share more stellar photographs shot by Hong Kong-based photographer Issa Ng, using the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens. Not surprisingly, his photographs are again a revelation of his great sense of aesthetics and fashion, juxtaposed with the masculine appeal of a portside location.

    1
  • The Beauty of Tintype Photography

    written by pan_dre on 2015-02-26 in #world #lifestyle
    The Beauty of Tintype Photography

    From a commonly employed process back in the early days of photography, tintype photography has evolved into something that is an art form in itself.

    9
  • "Tour de France" with the LC-Wide

    written by lomographyfrance on 2015-05-07 in #world #lifestyle #locations
     "Tour de France" with the LC-Wide

    The Lomo LC-Wide has a special place in the hearts of Lomographers and analog photography lovers. With its compact size, it's the best companion on trips or even as part of one's daily routine, and its wide 17mm wide angle lens tickles one's creativity. Recently, the LC-Wide explored France, yielding a photo diary of beautiful French cities and landscapes.

    1
  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-04-10 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    Photography is not only an act of documentation or communication, it is also a way of seeing the world. The camera opens our eyes and lets us see what lies behind the obvious, and we start looking at things as potential subjects of a photograph. Every leak of light unveils secrets that talented photographers turn into a piece of art. Li Hui is one of those gifted artists. We talked to her about her work and her sensitive photographs that picture a wonderful vulnerability.

    8
  • Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    written by sirio174 on 2015-03-30 in #world #lifestyle
    Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    In my early adolescence, I liked to play table football. For my 12th birthday, my parents gifted me with a wonderful Subbuteo table soccer game set that I had wished for many months! This was my favorite toy until I discovered other interesting hobbies, like ham radio and electronics. So after some years, I gave away this game to other kids. I always remembered this game with pleasure and a hint of nostalgia.

  • The Analogue Quiz: What B&W Film are you?

    written by andie_sollmer on 2014-10-20 in #news
    The Analogue Quiz: What B&W Film are you?

    Did you ever think about the myth that we actually dream in Black & White? No colors, maybe no truth behind it anyways. But we know for a fact that you can create the most dreamy photographs with an analogue camera. And for that you need the right film. Scroll down and find out which B&W film is the film of your dreams!

    5