It was June of 1965 and I was in Japan. Kamakura is a famous old city and was easily accessible from where I was staying in Yokohama. Wandering around the city, I came across the famous Daibutsu Buddha of Kamakura. This bronze figure stands about 44 feet tall and weighs about 93 tons. The photo at the top of the page shows what the statue looks like to the average tourist. Massive.
My first thought was to take an shot like the one above, but I had a little something special with me -- a brand new Canon 19mm lens, just about the widest full-frame lens ever made. So it seemed appropriate to use this lens to get a different view of the buddha.
Although the lens was made to fit a Canonflex camera, you couldn't actually look through the lens. The camera's mirror had to be pushed up and out of the way and the lens inserted into the camera. A viewfinder in the camera's accessory shoe showed what you would get.
So I wandered around the statue, trying different angles and finally chose a viewpoint with the statue's knees just touching the sides of the frame. From this distance, and from this angle, the distortion of the wide angle lens made the statue look much wider than tall. (That's why I included the shot at the top of the page showing what the statue actually looks like.) An offering of a bowl of oranges was in front of the statue and the wide angle lens brought this to prominence in the foreground. I shot several pictures from this angle, Kodachrome, ASA 25.
The slide with this picture sat neglected for almost forty years until one day I scanned it into my computer and it started on the journey that unfolds below.
Copyright 1957-2023 Tony & Marilyn Karp