Pictures of You

When I was a sophomore at the University of Miami, I received a nasty shock on the first day of my graphic design class. We were going to be doing photography and we would have to have a single lens reflex camera. So much for my extra cash. I had to buy a camera. I didn’t want to. I hated the very thought of being forced to take pictures when I would rather have been drawing. I complained, bitterly, the whole time I shopped for my little Pentax. I complained, bitterly, while I shot 36 frames of black and white film. I complained, still bitterly, while I learned to process my own film. I was still complaining as I pulled the film off the reel, and held it up to the light to see what I had done. Were there images? Were they in focus? Had I screwed up the processing? And the answers were yes, yes and no. And I stopped complaining. I was entranced, enchanted and thoroughly bitten by the photography bug. It became my minor. I had keys to every darkroom on the UM campus. I shot for fun, I shot for profit. I lived in the darkrooms. I even got a job years later from someone who remembered me as a girl who never had a tan, because I was always up to my elbows in the soup. My hands smelled like photo chemicals; my nails were yellow.

I can’t tell you how many rolls of film I put through that Pentax. I can’t tell you the thrill that getting my first Nikon gave me, or the heartbreak when it was stolen. I replaced it, a couple of times. I still have the F2AS, and several lenses, multiple filters, multiple focusing screens, flashes, cases and tripods. The first design for the studio that the RLA and I intend to build next to our house even had plans for a dark room. But I haven’t shot a roll of film in years. I have been shooting with a digital camera. First I had a Nikon Coolpix, now I have a Sony that is so tiny, it’s smaller than my wallet. I carry it everywhere, and if I say so myself, take some damn fine pictures with it. But.

But now I want a new Nikon. I want a digital SLR. I want interchangeable lenses. I want to be able to focus manually. I want to be able to manipulate the f-stops and exposures. I want the heft of an SLR, so that hand held long exposures are possible. I want a Nikon D40. But the cost is prohibitive, and my old equipment isn’t worth very much on Ebay. Not that I want to sell it. But it’s worth more as a memento or a film prop than it is as a working camera, and that just pains me.

I’ve been trying to ignore this desire, but it is an itch which is demanding to be scratched.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/20 at 11:49 AM in My Mind is a WMD

(1) Comments
#1. Posted by gigi on December 27, 2007

I recently took my ancient and beloved Minolta X700 to the local camera shop, placed it lovingly on the counter and asked if they could fix the forward mechanism.  The guy laughed in my face.  Then I asked to see something in a new 35m film camera.  By then I had him in stitches.

I’m with you ~ I love my little Canon Elph, which is tiny and handy and takes great pics, but I miss the heft, control and sense of a camera.  Scratch that itch.  It must be contagious.

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