Tam is retroverting to film photography, or so it would seem — at least partially 🙂 She mentioned it on Facebook the other day and I dragged out my Olympus OM-1N just for kicks and giggles, and found that it had film in it. It was a roll of Kodak Max 800, 24 exposures, and I got one more shot out of it before it ran out. Anyway it may not come out very well, because I think I remember opening the back because the counter was at zero and suddenly realizing there was film in it. But I’ll get it developed anyway and see.
In Tam’s blog post, she references a post at Leicaphilia that suggests that digital cameras have produced a “fast-food age of photography”. Depending on your outlook, that may well be true. The question is, can what a random iPhone user is doing when taking pictures of friends at a party, or of her cat, or of random things seen on a walk or during a sightseeing tour, really be considered “photography”, or is it just random picture-making? Snapshots have been around ever since photography got cheap enough that everyone was doing it. So what’s the difference?
To my way of thinking, photography is an art form that requires thought, a good eye for composition, and a working knowledge of the camera you intend to use to make the photograph. I started a photography hobby not long after I graduated from high school, all those mumblty-frotz years ago, and while I don’t think I ever rose to a professional level, or even an advanced amateur level, I did understand the basics of taking a photo without the instant gratification of an LCD screen lighting up milliseconds after the shutter dropped to show me what I’d taken a picture of. I was an avid reader of Ansel Adams’ books on photography (the original ones, not the revisions), I had my own darkroom and processed my own film and printed my own photos, and for those reasons — plus the fact that I was dirt poor in those days and couldn’t afford a color enlarger — I worked almost exclusively in black and white. 35mm of course, with an old Pentax SLR I’d bought from a schoolmate, until I could afford to buy my own Olympus OM-1N a couple of years later. Naturally, I did take obligatory family snapshots.
My Dad, sometime in the early 1980’s.
(All of these are going to be early 1980’s so bear with me if I don’t make that distinction in every one.)
Then of course there were the cats.
Actually those are both the same cat, Spike. He liked to lie on top of the cable box, where it was warm, so he could look out the living room window.
Then there was the artsy-fartsy (or what I considered artsy-fartsy) stuff. I was 18 or 19, give me a break.
Yes, I really did use that fan and that typewriter. Both are long gone. The exit sign worked, too. I have no idea what the poster hanging on the wall is of.
Once in a while, I’d go out and get into my outdoor photography mode.
I think those may have been taken at Butler, in what used to be a woods up on the north end around the Carillon. But I honestly can’t remember, and of course — no metadata! 🙂
The number of extra exposures for the same shot is stunning. But again — we didn’t have the luxury of instant gratification and a delete button. We had to get it right the first time.
I remember really, really wanting a 4×5 view camera. Like this one.* Except not as nice, because the materials weren’t the same quality. My problem was that the prices were — well, about the same, but in 1980, $329 was a fuckload of money. I’m not sure I was taking that home bi-weekly then, let alone weekly. Plus — no lens included, so you’d have to be off to B&H or somewhere to probably spend another $300-$1000 for a decent lens. Ah well.
And yes, sometimes I did shoot color. And sometimes someone else took the picture with my camera.
(My wife is quite enamored of this picture. I was 19. She was 21 and off at IU. And we didn’t know each other then. OK, I’ll just say it: She’s never known me with this much hair.)
The sad thing is, I’ve only managed to scan about three rolls of the hundreds I have squirreled away in the closet in back. I need a decent negative scanner.
* Turns out, Bender Photographic closed its doors a number of years ago. It would be nice if it said that on all the pages instead of just the home page…
Oh. That’s cool. This guy’s book on building your own 4×5 monorail camera is now downloadable for free.