2011, Looking back through the start of an analog year...
2011 will be a year I will always remember as the year I started delving into analog photography. I’ve been fascinated with cameras as a kid, watching my uncle taking pictures with his SLR and looking at people walking around with their film compacts. It fascinated me even more when I looked at the developed photos. It always made me wonder what goes through a person’s mind when they took photos. Cameras were a bit out of my financial reach back then; I was a kid after all.
Fast forward a few years I was an adult (Well to be honest not much of one & probably still not much of one but that’s an issue better not discussed…), I was able to afford a camera. The digital revolution had somewhat just begun & digital cameras had just become more accessible around my neck of the woods. The thought of buying an analog camera didn’t even cross my mind. I bought myself a simple point and shoot, a Canon Powershot A410. It was a simple camera, despite it’s simplicity I loved it to bits. Some of my favourite pictures. were taken with that camera. The simplicity of that camera made me not worry about settings too much and made me worry about what I wanted to put in the frame. That camera sadly didn’t last me very long, and after two years it is now retired peacefully in my desk drawer.
Quite some time after that I got myself another compact, but this time a one with more controls; a canon Powershot SX100. It actually has PASM modes, something I always read about but not had the chance to use with the older camera and something I enjoyed using immensely with this then new camera. Soon however I realized I outgrew this camera & decided to try to get myself a DSLR, saved up some money (Cameras are very expensive around where I live unfortunately…) and after some research bought myself an EOS 60D. Not the best bit of kit around but it still is a pretty darn good bit of kit if I do say so myself :)
I love taking pictures with it despite my limited equipment (all I have is the kit lens). I could do a whole lot more things with it compared to my previous cameras. Taking pictures had become a whole lot more fun. Unfortunately something felt missing though, all that technology made me feel like I’m no longer taking the pictures myself, it had less of a hands-on feel. Everything felt automated & every press of the shutter felt less and less of a “moment”. It didn’t help when people look at my pictures and say, “Hey nice picture! It must be because of that expensive camera you use.” It also doesn’t help that I’m using my 60D at work since I’m the unofficial photographer for events, though this maybe more because I’m easy to boss around & I happen to have a camera.
I needed something to put back interest in my interest for photography.
I guess it all changed one I stumbled upon something interesting in a shop that sold souvenirs and gifts. It was a camera I had to build myself and it looked like one of those classic TLR cameras. At first I thought about not buying it but then my curiosity got the better of me so I bought a Recesky DIY Twin Lens Reflex camera. Took me a while to build it due to my clumsy hands but I got it working after awhile. Ran my first roll of film through it and I got a mixed bag; some frames were pretty sweet & some frames had no pictures at all. It was quite an intriguing experience despite how disastrous some of the pictures turned out. Film was getting more and more fascinating and I had to learn more. Slowly I learned about Lomography & the society behind it. Seemed pretty cool & I loved the idea behind it. Slowly I got my hands on some pretty decent analog cameras & started experimenting with them. It didn’t all always turn out too well & there have been a lot of photographic disasters (Putting it mildly…) along the way but it was a lot of fun. More fun than I’ve ever had with my digital cameras, every press of the shutter is a precious experience and every frame is wonderful surprise (usually…).
The world of analog photography has opened my eyes and made me see differently. From the joys of using an ingeniously designed yet deceptively simple plastic “toy” cameras to the joys of manually focusing with a prime lens on a camera older than I am. The photos from the people themselves have been an endless source of inspiration. Photography has become for me something that I experience rather than something I merely do. I do believe analog photography is teaching me to become a better photographer if not at least someone who appreciates the art more :)
I guess I can say 2011 is a year I achieved much for my hobby. I actually have some favourite photos that are not taken by somebody else lol. I know they are not as good as a lot of the Lomographs out there & mine will never receive as many likes nor praise as theirs but they will always signify something special for myself. Hopefully this year I’ll be be able to do better, there is still much more to learn and experience :)
If you read this far I applaud you for your patience and I would like to apologize for making you read such a long boring nonsensical essay. Now go out there & shoot more film :D