It is entirely unsurprising that automotive alchemist Horacio Pagani appreciates the art of analog photography. Take a long look at his multi-million-dollar vehicles, and you’ll find an ardent adherence to intricate designs that seemingly marry ancient crafts like metalwork with the conceptual execution of an alien civilization. Pagani’s out-of-the-box thinking led the former Lamborghini engineer to jump ship and create his own brand, and his latest collaboration supports what could be called the ultimate expression of high-quality image making.
Pagani recalls inspecting a Gibellini film camera given to him and says, “As I looked at it, I thought of the hundreds of cell-phone snaps we take unthinkingly without enjoying the pleasure of taking a real photograph.” Seeking to create a unique instrument suited to the thoughtful capture of images—think slow cooking for photography—he collaborated with Gibellini to craft a large format that lives up to the boggling designs of his hypercars.
Not unlike a Pagani road car, the Gibellini GP810HP is an orchestra of complex aluminum and titanium forms machined from a single block. The massive 8 x 10 inch plate captures film images through a bellows whereby the optical and focal planes can be shifted up to eight degrees, ideal for architectural photography or artsy tilt-shift techniques. Whatever simplicity we’ve come accustomed to with cell-phone photography becomes irrelevant with a large-format film experience: Leave your convenience at the door while you consider a total of eight axes of adjustment across two planes. While the back is compatible with all commercially available film holders, the onus is on the photographer to manage the complexities of the large format genre, from focal-plane alignment and bellows length to fundamentals like focus, shutter speed, and aperture selection.
As with all things Pagani, Gibellini’s camera is neither for the mass consumers nor the financially faint of heart. The cameras, 30 of which will be initially available to existing Pagani owners, can be customized to match the leather and paint finishes of vehicles, and will be accompanied by a custom Gitzo tripod and matching travel cases. Limited to 75 units and costing €75,000 ($74,594) apiece, these special instruments are likely to find their way to avid photography fans and lovers of industrial sculpture alike.