Scenes, Volume 4

Edward Glen, center, and scenes at O’Brien’s Pub in August

Fourth entry in an analog photography feature at Noise Floor.

One of several things I refuse to shut up about if you get me talking film is the joy of working with really, really old gear. For a variety of reasons, be it the ease of multiple exposures, the quirky ergonomics or the general unpredictability, some of my favorite cameras to shoot with the past couple years date back to the 1940s or 50s. Most of that shooting has been offstage, of course, but one particular piece of that vintage did seem to invite some experimentation in the concert arena. The Univex Mercury II – introduced to me as Phil Elverum’s camera of choice, weirdly enough – seems almost preternaturally destined to be taken to a gig. Its maximum aperture is a respectably fast f/2.8, its shutter is as quick as 1/1000th of a second if you need it, and most importantly, it’s a half-frame shooter, which nearly doubles your number of images per roll (and forces a portrait perspective I don’t shoot a ton of digitally).

After a couple months of meaning to get around to it (it was the camera that sparked the idea for this feature, after all), I finally got the Mercury out in the field in August and gradually ran through a roll of Ilford Delta 3200. Check out some results below, which include a couple of O’Brien’s shows, scenes from Somergloom and Future Teens at ONCE, and a couple of interesting film-winding jam-ups from Cloud Nothings, Mountain Movers and MANAS at The Sinclair.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the City of Boston.