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Hasselblad The Printed Word Camera or Man



I thought about starting this topic in the more general "Books" topic in MF Forum, but I wanted to be specific to Hasselblad for purely selfish reasons.

Like many, I suppose, I have been subscribing to the 'Forum' magazine for many years. (No comments allowed on 'Victor' !!). So I have a swag of magazines for better or for worse.

More recently, as I discovered that I was 'gathering' various Ernst Wildi books by default by updating his editions, I thought I would take the next step and get more printed matter about Hasselblad. And so, I have other books like a first edition of "Hasselblad Photography" by Les Barry 1959 - the first book published in the US on this topic (the 1600F, 1000F 500c and SW), or the 1981 "I am the Camera" which is the commemorative Victor Hasselblad book.

You know a Hasselblad book is 'early' when the first sentence starts, "Since its introduction in 1948, the Hasselblad single lens reflex system has undergone two modifications, for a total history of three models."

I must also say that the books are my 'rainy day' project. I would much rather be out and about making images. However, I do love my books!

So, to the Subject:

I am curious to hear from other forum members who collect such books or other printed matter. I am not looking for a library inventory (which is why I did not list my books) but rather I would like to hear about the books that are out there - especially if they are off mainstream (I consider Wildi mainstream, but not Barry), and perhaps a "quaint quote" or two. I am up for a purchase or two. (I have seen a Hasselblad book signed by A Adams, but it was not for sale)

Anyone else a 'bladbookworm' ?


For a list of good books, look here:

Most equipment oriented books get 'old' rather quickly. Once you know what Hasselblad bits and bobs are out there, reading another book listing the bits again does not add much.
Most give a short discussion of how the different bits are used for specific tasks, but there too it is hard to be original, and you will not find many new insights.
I like Les Barry's approach most. He goes beyond the "a yellow filter is used to darken the sky" type of info a bit.
Where most of these 'hardware books' differ most is in how many errors they contain.

In the "How to"-category, Wildi's book are impossible to beat. Great books.

In a category of their own are Richard Nordin's books. They form an invaluable resource. Great references. Real handbooks.
Udo Alfalter's book is meant to offer a similar system overview, but is lacking quite a bit, and contains a large number of errors.

Both Karlsten and Gunnarsson's biographies offer a chance to get to know the man behind the camera (indeed: "mannen bakom kameran"), and how these machines have come to be.
Gunnarsson's 'long' biography in particular is a very interesting book. But only available in Swedish.

And the Japanese book?
Well... it's in Nihongo.
Thank you, Qnu, for this excellent resource. It is the sort of offering that makes this forum worthwhile.
Scott Roti

I think not mainstream but as far as I know only available in German is Hasselblad Praktikum by Toni Angermayer.
He describes the use of the underwater housing quite well.
It was published by Heering Verlag München

My copy is first edition from 1975.
First print was 5000 copies. I wonder whether there was a second one.

I am also interested in Hasselblad literature but not a serious collector.
G'Day QG:

Which Book?

Can't tell you exactly ! I saw and handled the book before I was actually 'collecting' these books. It was at a autographs/collectibles shop in the Lennox Mall ? in Atlanta Georgia. I know I was still visiting from Down Under in those days, so I am pretty sure it was 1989 or 1990. (I was there on business both times).

I remember the size, but the cover design ...ummm... my gut tells me it was the first 1980 Wildi book or perhaps the 1968 Freytag book. Sorry! I guess it was in someone's collection because it was not for sale - just a display item.

They did have a 'coffee table' sized glossy book of Adam's prints which was signed by him, and for sale. They were asking $1200. I held it and 'ummmed' and 'aaahed', and declined, and then spent the money (and more) on my first 50mm lens to take back home.

My 'new' interest is 'focused' (sorry) on books specifically about Hasselblad - the man or the camera - rather that picture books of exposures made with a Hasselblad (although I do have several of those). Actually, in the 70s and 80s, I was buying many A. Adams books - The Negative, et al - until it got to the point I discovered that 'hey, other people also use Hasselblad (and the Zone System' !! I did this in the late 50s to late 60s with Leica books and the Leica masters. (I know Adams was a LF guy, too, as well as using the much earlier rolly-folders)

I thank you very much for the links, QG and Ulrik, and I am excited that others have already leapt onto this topic. Also, I am pleased that Ulrik was agreeable to sending the bottle of wine to me ... wink wink !


Thank you, Paul, for drawing my attention to Angermayer.

I completely forgot about the book when compiling the "Recommended reading" page.
What's more, i spent a good part of the last hour turning over every pile of books and paper in my house (and there are many...), and just can not find my copy.
It has a green dust cover with a 50 mm lens on front, hasn't it?

So - though this is not the right place for this sort of request either - anyone here have one for sale?

And now that i'm asking things: if anyone knows good books devoted to Hasselblad (man, company and/or products) that's not on the page linked to above, please let me know too.

Your memory is quite right.
My copy has lost its the dustcover but the book is green too.
The Angermayer book can be found occasionaly at camera fairs in Germany.
I will get you a copy if I can find one.

After I moved to a new house 4 months ago most of my things have turned up. That reminds me that some other books on the subject have not yet found their place in my study.
All the more reason to sort out the last boxes.
Walter Schirra one of the first American astronauts died at the age of 84.
He too part in three space missions and introduced Hasselblad cameras to NASA.
He was a keen amateur photographer.
Sad to hear that a real pioneer has gone. Here is a quote from him:

"I decided that a Hasselblad, with its larger film frame, was more suitable than a 35 mm camera. I had the Hasselblad adapted. A 100 exposure film container was installed, and an easy aiming device was mounted on the side of the camera. Focusing would not be required from the infinity of space, I figured. Finally I learned how to repair the Hasselblad."