Not long into my Lomography addiction, and I do not use the word addiction lightly, My wife, son and I were going on holiday to Turkey. Before we went we stayed with some friends in Manchester and while we there the Beach Road festival was on. The festival was full of stalls selling all sorts of delights and while we perusing the heavens opened and we dashed inside the nearest stall.
Perhaps this brief but monsoon type rain was a message or fate because in this stall I found two little gems (actually I found 3 but one was broken). There nestled at the back of table half hidden by Brica-brack, half forgotten by the Brica-brack owner and very much ignored by the digital consumer was an Olympus Trip 35 and a Zenit EM. A quick chat with Brica-brac man and they were both in my possession for the princely sum or £15. Both cameras came to turkey with me and both served me well and a lovely time was had by all. During the holiday I took a particular shine to the Olympus Trip 35 (a camera I always refer to with its full title!) It was a great holiday camera, simple to adjust and easy to use. But perhaps most importantly it is a robust little beast. My son often had his curios little hands all over it dropping it and throwing it but it is still going.
So lets explore the Olympus Trip 35 a little bit more. Aesthetically it is not a beautiful camera its shape is a rather simple boxy rectangle, granted the edges are curved for elegance, but a brick with a curved edge does not make a Greek statue. It s plastic finish doesn’t scream quality or luxury and its plastic shutter button isn’t really anything to write home about. However, it is by no means is it an ugly camera either – its design is simple and unpretentious, it isnt trying to be a Greek statue or a luxury item, it is trying to look like what it is – a hard working reliable camera. There is a satisfying “click” when turning the dial to select f-stop or distance, a click that reassures you that you have actually chosen something. Other cameras I have used have a very slidy wishy washy dial where you are not 100% sure if you are shooting at f8, f11 or some impossible number in between. The Olympus Trip 35s click simply reassures you that you have actually chosen something! The shutter release is similar in its level of satisfaction – its not so quiet so that you are unsure of the picture has been taken and not so loud that everyone knows that a picture has been taken, it’s almost polite in its noise, like someone stamping a book at a library. Its winding mechanism is basically a cog sticking out the back. Again this simplicity is part of the cameras charm literally making you handle the very mechanics of the camera to make the thing work. The Olympus Trip 35 (believe me I have tried referring to her as the Trip or the Olympus but full title is what she deserves!) can be dressed up with a flash by using the hot-shoe and will also take just about any cable release. It is easy to load and rewind and, perhaps most importantly, produces great honest results. The whole essence of this camera has a very british feel to it, or rather a brit portrayed in some rom com we don’t quite believe. A humble camera, stuttering its way through photography with a stiff upper lip and an unessesary appologetic, understated charm.
I have, I believe, a good selection of analogue cameras and I use all of them and I love using all of them. But I would say that using the other cameras is like having little affairs, I may use the Diana for that edge of danger, the unpredictable wild care free weekend fling, I may use the Mamiya C220 for a more sophisticated affair, the fisheye for a one night stand, the Holga for dirty hard core, a Polaroid for a quickie, the pop 9 for multiple gratification. But if all these cameras are affairs then the Olympus trip 35 is the wife and kids I always go back to. Wait what does that say about me…?
See the evidence for this robust beauty in this album entitled LOMOBIKE! For this gallery I strapped the camera to the front fork of my bike and took shots using a cable release while my family and I went for a bike ride. How many cameras could take that type of abuse?
Check it here!