martedì 3 novembre 2015

Gibellini folding cameras, the Pagani of photography

It was since two years that I have been hearing great things about Alessandro Gibellini and its special large format folding cameras. Time ago, I contacted Alessandro by phone, through a mutual friend, to go to visit him, to see how he works in his laboratory.
If you procrastinate your decisions too much, then you lose the favorable moment to do things. At that time Alessandro was very busy and so was I, so I preferred to devote myself to other things to discover. When a few days ago I met the young entrepreneur in person, at the Photoshow 2015, I managed to find new interest in his work and I reported the news that I'm presenting in these pages. TG

The distinctive design of Gibellini highlighted by the frame without bellow and back standard. 
This is a prototype of the N model, entirely in aluminum

Tony Graffio interviews Alessandro Gibellini

Tony Graffio: Hello Alessandro, who are you? How old are you? Where were you born? What are you doing?

Alessandro Gibellini: Hello Tony, I'm Alessandro Gibellini, the founder of the Gibellini Project and Co. I am 25 y.o. and I was born in Sassuolo. Three years ago I got the passion for photography and it has taken me so strongly that we immediately started to design large format cameras, just for the love of film and traditional photography. We were able to create a professional product for both uses with the film with and the wet collodion.
Now we are designing the latest models of the series "N" that will be made entirely of aluminum and carbon fiber, to be able to reach the high technical and quality standards to be used professionally in different fields.

Tony Graffio: Before using the large format, how did you take pictures?

Alessandro Gibellini: Digitally. Then I switched to the medium format film; it was so interesting and so much more exciting of digital photography that soon I started taking pictures in large format. I was not so happy of the large format cameras that were on sale, so I thought to try to build a camera with the aesthetic and functional requirements that could completely satisfy me.

Tony Graffio: What did not satisfy you? Costs? Mechanics? The look?

Alessandro Gibellini: Since I started this adventure at the age of 22, the costs were definitely excessive for me, then the simplicity of certain solutions did not convince me. I also wanted to build a camera with my design. I wanted to create a more technical product with a lighter design.

Tony Graffio: What did you study?

Alessandro Gibellini: Civil Engineering. In Modena.

Tony Graffio: Did these studies help you to find your way? To set up a camera laboratory?

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes, absolutely, especially in setting the mentality with which we must analyze the problems.

Tony Graffio: Did you start from scratch? Was there anybody in your family who was competent in these things?

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes from scratch, all in the family have always been medical doctors, there was no one in the field of mechanics, or engineering, or much less in photography.

Tony Graffio: I know that your business has a good success abroad, why?

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes, it's true, especially abroad, because people appreciates something that Italians sometimes do not appreciate: the Made in Italy. The quality of the Italian products and our ability to create products with a beautiful design, good quality and materials different from those used in the rest of the world.

Tony Graffio: Is the design yours?

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes, the design is ours and it is also patented in Europe, because design is one of the main components of our cameras.

Tony Graffio: Obviously, you also work to order …

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes, of course, mainly my works are made to order because the cameras are fully customizable.

Tony Graffio: What are the most frequent requests?

Alessandro Gibellini: The colours of the bellows, the colours of the knobs, the colours of the screws, we next provide titanium screws in a colour ranging from blue to red to black. On the wooden model we ask, in addition to the model, the favourite wood essence of clients.

Tony Graffio: Do you work the wood too? Or do you commission these realizations to external cabinetmakers?

Alessandro Gibellini: It depends on the type of wood that is required. We have models that are all made from ebony cabinetmakers or models in mahogany, or oak that we can achieve internally.

Tony Graffio: Do you produce the bellows by yourself?

Alessandro Gibellini: The bellows are produced internally.

Tony Graffio: Is it all it made in Italy?

Alessandro Gibellini: It 's all made in Modena, to be honest.

Tony Graffio: The fact that in your area there are certain mechanical automotive excellence, does it helps?

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes, this thing helps us a lot, because the same factories that make parts for certain car manufacturers realize the same components of our cameras.

Tony Graffio: Are we talking about very prestigious brands?

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes, very prestigious.

Tony Graffio: Can we name a few brands?

Alessandro Gibellini: (Smiles) I think no, but the brands are those of Modena, we all know them.

Tony Graffio: Can you explain us your choice of using plaxiglass instead of traditional ground glass for focusing the image?

Alessandro Gibellini: The plexiglass has been used mainly for a matter of reduction of weights and reduce the possibility of breakage which would otherwise always occur in the glass.
The glass could create problems during transportation and also cause injury to the user of our product.
The plexiglass moreover is easier to work by laser for more customization. We often insert the name of the customer on the plexiglass.

Tony Graffio: Can you give me the name of some photographer who uses your cameras?

Alessandro Gibellini: Unfortunately, we can not say this. However, from 2014 to now we have sold 60 units of our cameras, now we plan to increase our sales to make rediscover to all the beauty of the large format.

A Gibellini's wood and titanium camera with a customized bellow. From the U.S. come a lot of requests for the bellows coloured with stars and stripes.

Tony Graffio: What particular format clients do you require?

Alessandro Gibellini: The panoramic formats: 4x10, 8x20, 12x20, 7X17.

Tony Graffio: What did you ask my friend Kurt Moser?

Alessandro Gibellini: Kurt wants a 16X20 folding camera with the design of the new “N” aluminum series.

Tony Graffio: Let's talk about prices in what range are we?

Alessandro Gibellini: Prices vary greatly: from € 1,800 for the entry-level, up to the top models entirely in carbon fiber, where a 8X10 costs around 10,000 Euros.
Customers can also customize the product 100%, as well as to suit their needs, also according to their budgets.

Tony Graffio: What is provided with the camera?

Alessandro Gibellini: The camera is complete, excluding for lens and chassis.

Tony Graffio: Do you plan something new for the chassis? Why?

Alessandro Gibellini: We are going to launch new chassis entirely of aluminum with carbon fiber volet that besides lightness are able to guarantee an optimum strength and stability over time, which the plastic can not do, in part because of deformations which are created as a result of temperature variations.

Tony Graffio: How much these beautiful chassis will cost?

Alessandro Gibellini: The 8X10 chassis will cost roughly around 300-350 Euros.

Tony Graffio: Not too bad, also because now the new chassis are no longer easy to find (in Italy ndTG) And then the plastic chassis are already expensive (Around 150-200 euro).

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes, absolutely, then the products will be different because they will be made of aluminium.

Tony Graffio: Are you projecting to produce new other products?

Alessandro Gibellini: We would like to realize even full tripods for our cameras, tripods which had adequate heads to support our cameras, not much because of the weight, which we saw it's not too heavy, but because of the size of our panoramic cameras that is quite ample also for a large format camera. Even the tripods will be made with the greatest attention to the design and materials such as titanium, carbon fiber and aluminum, because we are interested in expanding the brand penetration Gibellini. All our products are of high quality and precision, because we have a company that manufactures aerospace components working for us.

Tony Graffio: The titanium screws are made and coloured by you?

Alessandro Gibellini: Only those titanium screws can be ordered in special colors, otherwise the cameras are equipped with the stainless steel screws with Torx rounded head that are already truly exceptional.

Tony Graffio: How the colouring is done?

Alessandro Gibellini: The aluminium camera colouring is realized through the hard anodization with a thickness of 40 Micron and a PTFE treatment, this Teflon coated treatment ensure a fluidity and an exceptional smoothness during the movements.
All movements run on Delrin bushings and also offer a perfect mechanics fluidity.

Tony Graffio: Using so many special materials such as titanium, stainless steel, carbon fibre, precious woods is one feature that distinguishes you from the other manufacturers?

Gibellini Alexander: Yes, I would say yes, so many materials in a single product have not been used by any other photographic company.

Alessandro Gibellini 25 years, entrepreneur.
At Photoshow 2015 the engineer fromModena was hosted at the Ilford stand
In the background a new wooden Gibellini's point and shoot

Tony Graffio: Recently you have also a dealer in London?

Alessandro Gibellini: Yes we try to be present in the UK, because there there is a market showing much interest in us.

Tony Graffio: Do you think of enlarge your business further?

Alesandro Gibellini: That is our priority.

Tony Graffio: Until now, how did you make knowing your activity?

Alessandro Gibellini: Mainly with Facebook and with the word of mouth that this social network brings.

Tony Graffio: Thank you Alessandro, that's all.

Alessandro Gibellini: Thank you.

In questa pagina trovate lo stesso articolo in lingua italiana

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