Some autobiography of my way to analogue photography
I started with a girl, which I did adore in my early youth. I wanted to have a picter of her, but didn’t dare to ask for one.
So I decided, to make a picture myself. I asked my dad for a camera and he gave me his old Instamatic. I loaded a film and went
for hunting. Less did I know about film sensitivity, aperture or shutter speed. The result was very poor. Nevertheless, a small
spark was set to kindle a fire.
I came to the conclusion, that the results of my photographic efforts need to improve and I went to the public library.
I got me a book on photography, written especially for youth. There I learnt about light painting and faking pictures:
“Put the shutter speed to the B position at night and move your camera in circles for example.” That sounded jsut great and
the example pictures in the book looked appealing. However, my Instamatic didn’t have a B setting. That was disappointing.
“Cut a witch on her broom out of black paper, tape it to the window and make a black and white picture of it. Then you have
a witch flying in the sky.” Yes, that worked with my Instamatic. It looked really funny. Today, I’d cut out an UFO….
One of my friends got interested in photography at the same time. We planned to set up a darkroom, but never got started.
Slowly other things got more important than taking pictures with my Instamatic. The limitations the camera and the film had
made taking pictures with it less interesting. Getting my own “real” camera seemd impossible.
Four years later things looked differently. Another friend got one of the those new auto focus compact cameras from Nikon. He
showed me his pictures and I could only agree that the camera made perfect pictures. I begged my parents to get me the same
camera and since I was about to go to London with my class in school, I got it. Finally I could make perfect pictures
with 35 mm film. Still, light painting and long exposure times were not possible.
I dreamt of a SLR. No, I longed for a real professional camera. I joined the group that made the school magazine. That gave
me the opportunity to take masses of pictures and creat picture stories. I even had access to a perfectly equipped darkroom.
Unfortunately, I never had the chance to develop my own film and make prints.
Finally, at the age of 21 I got me a SLR, Minolta x300s. Now I had the possibility to play with all parameters. I felt, the quality of my
pictures increased. It encouraged me to participate at different competitions. Once I won a year admittance to the local zoo.
Sad to say, it was not due to my pictures, but due to the fact, that my name was drawn.
One time I was asked to acompany one of two youth groups making a competition for shooting the most beautiful picture of the city.
Each member of the group had a compact camera. The other group was accomanied by a professional photographer.
I told my group to just take pictures of anything that looked appealing to them. I also told them, they should put the thing
they liked as big as possible in the picture (get as close as possible). Off we went. At the end each one had a roll of exposed
film. We had the pictures developed and selected the shots for an exhibition were the best pictures would get a price. Guess what,
a girl from my group made first place with her picture of a some herbs growing through the asphalt in front of a yellow telephone
booth. The pictures were displayed without names. No one knew who took the pictures.
Places two and three came also out of my group. I counted this as success for my teaching efforts.
It started to become known that I can take some decent photographs. I was asked to take pictures at the wedding of my sister-in-law.
Without hesitating, I agreed on that. The day came and I took my SLR to the wedding. After the second picture, the shutter jammed.
There was no way of getting it back to work again. I was devasted. Though, I had the camera repaired.
At the same time, digital photography evolved. My colleagues at work got them digital cameras and shared their pictures on their
computers at work. I wanted to have one of those fancy cameras as well and I got me a Sony DSC-V1. At the shop I was told, that it
is a semi-professional camera, with a lot of possibilities. That sounded great. At home I got it out of the package and started it.
I was suprised, how long it took for the camera to focus and to operate the zoom. At first I found it disappointing, but finally
I got used to that. The operating time anoyed me as well. The batteries were empty really quick. To overcome this, I got a second
battery pack and also some additional memory cards.
The memory cards were teh next stumbling block. I got mixed up and erased accidently some of my newly shot pictures. I decided to
go back to analogue film, to avoid such accidents. However, I didn’t do it. I kept on with digital photography.
Somewhere around there I came accross lomography for the first time. I read about it in a newspaper article. Though, what I read,
didn’t sound like you could get nice pictures. I futher investigated it on the internet and what I found was nothing that I did like.
I meat a friend who was battling with his digital compact camera. He wanted to make pictures of his artwork in order to sell it
online. I explained him some photographic basics, like ISO setting, aperture and how to use light. He was totally happy, because
with that knowlege his pictures improved a lot.
Five years later, I talked with him again. Photography is now his big hobby and he sells some of his pictures to gain some pocket-money
(which is quite a lot). Again, I count this as success for my teaching efforts.
I kept on with digital photography. Meanwhile I started to build our home and the digital camera was very handy to document different
things on the building site. After moving in, I stumbled accross my analogue cameras and some expired films. Again, lomography came to
my mind and I did some research on the internet. What I found looked very appealing to me. The shots I saw looked like art. The partly
washed out colours, effects of double exposure kept me looking at the pictures and further exploring.
Finally I decided to take my expired film, load it in one of my compact cameras and give it a try. It was an exciting, refreshing, new
experience for me and for my family. I couldn’t wait to get the pictures developed. The result stunned me. They were like lomographs.
To me, they looked beautiful. All the longing for a new digital camera was gone. I wanted my old analogue cameras back in use. I got new
batteries for one and loaded film again in some of my other cameras.
Now I have tons of pictures again and I love it. Thanks to lomo, I gained back a wonderful hobby. It really enriched and simplified
Why simplify? Because if I now go on vacation, I take one or two compact analogue cameras some rolls of film with me. No need for
battery charger, laptop anymore and worrying about a sudden power-down of the camera due to low batteries.