Honda Wang with the
Pentax 67

 
 
 

The earliest memories I have of Beijing and my grandparents were captured on film. The prints were kept at home in a scrapbook; the negatives in a drawer. Their physical permanence somehow made those recollections more real and tangible.

 
 

A few years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As her memories began to fade, I wanted to go back to Beijing to document both the city and my family.

I usually shoot a Leica M6, a quick and discreet camera. For this project, I used the Pentax 6x7. 

Since I'm used to shooting rangefinders, the camera required me to be deliberate rather than instinctive. I needed to meter the scene, focus carefully, and ration the ten exposures with each roll. It wasn't subtle, but the heavy mirror slap made me feel like I was stamping the scene into the film.

 

In a way, it helped me to meditate on the past as I was working to document the present. With each composition, I aimed to make permanent what I knew and what I saw.

Adam Ottke