I’m visiting my family in Australia for the moment, and I am?—?as I have come to be the latest couple of years?—?packed with equipment. Not only do I have my brand spanking new Canon HF-S10 with me to make a movie for my family and try to crack the nut of?—?“How to really use a camcorder to record the ordinary” (more of that later)?—?my bag also features a whole lot of equipment from the ice age, a 35mm Yashica T5, a Leica M6 / f2.0 50mm Summicron, a borrowed Hasselblad 501c / 80mm Planar T* and a digital snappycam Olympus mju. …Phew
Those kind of specifications and equipment leave a small part of the world drooling. Heidi, my cousins 12 year old daughter, nails the other side of it. After being told abouth the splendidness of my precioussss Leica,
she first ironically comments it as “The greatest camera in the World” (and I who thought that I was Generation “X”), weighs it (600grams?—?didn’t know that!), and then replies “..and it doesn’t even have a screen!”
It’s not a strange remark at all from a girl that might not ever have snapped an analog picture, but what does it mean?
And why do I have all that expensive analog s**t in my bags?
I guess I have no short answer, but buying my first Leica and taking my trusty Yashica T5 out of storage, loading them with good ol’ film, popping the shutter, having to wait several days/weeks to pay a lot of money, use a whole day to cut and scan just a couple dozen dust-loving, fingerprint-eating negatives with expensive equipment??? That is of course totally insane. And, having shot purely digital for the last 6 years or so?—?totally awesome.
My means and methods might somehow only be useful for us nostalgics, and ready ready for the museum showcase, but I still think it’s kinda sad that Heidi will never experience the mystique of photography, the darkroom, the chemicals, the scarcity, the “never know what you really got”, all of these things with the medium that probably singlehanded got me into opening my eyes to the world of angles, lines, curves, complexity, art, communication and storytelling.
Or?—?that is my first thought. Perhaps I’m romanticizing, or perhaps it’s just because I want her to experience MY fascination, MY circutry, MY version of the universe. Somehow, the world moves forward today, as it did yesterday and 19 years ago when I was her age, and started getting into photography. The medium changes, disappears or evolves, the paths to insight or inspiration continues to be as diverse as human kind, and luckily?—?the matter stays the same.
The scarcity is gone tho. Perhaps that’s why why Kodak film sales are up for the first time of a good number of years (I only heard this as a rumor?—?anyone with a valid source?), or why my lab tells me they see more 120s coming in now than ever before. I guess it just makes a difference for the rest of us 12 year oldies or 32 year old youngsters.
And the rest of you?… You should check it out. Buy a roll of film, shed some light in that dark drawer where your good Ol’ Nikon, Canon, Yashica or whatever have been waiting for all too long. Or?—?if you have no Ol’ Love, find her on Ebay or lomography.com! Then go out, and listen to that shutter pop a couple dozen times without checking your histogram, if the focus was just right, without deleting a single bad picture from your 16Gb HiSpeed SecureDigital/CompactFlash or whatever Memory Card. …And see where that takes you.
* Bjorn?—?down under via WordPress for iPhone