In Summer 2011 I was off to New York from London to compete at the United Nations Congress Ju Jitsu Championships. Set up for a win. Unfortunately my time in the Big Apple coincided exactly with the first Hurricane to hit New York in what seemed like forever. The competition was cancelled, a lot of training and preparation was wasted, but all was not lost as while there I fell in love – with analogue photography.
I had always had an interest in photography. I saved up and bought myself a fujifilm bridge camera shortly after my twelfth birthday, and I spent a lot of time snapping insignificant events on fancy settings. My strange love triangle with photography and Ju Jitsu started when I picked up a Kodak Colour Snap 2 a day before I was due to compete and the British Nationals in Birmingham, I brought the camera along knowing nothing about analogue photography, snapped my way through the weekend, and returned anxiously awaiting my photos to find that the film had snapped, and being clueless, I messed it up trying to rescue it. Nearly a year on in New York, the day the competition was cancelled the whole team was frustrated and disappointed, we’d worked so hard for what seemed like nothing.
On the last day before we would be confined to our hotel to ride out the hurricane I stumbled into an Urban Outfitters and came across the camera section. Still sore from my previous experience I didn’t have much faith in the devices, but the strange bubble of the box of the fish eye drew me to it, and the monochrome colour meant before I knew it I was outside the shop loading some colour negative film into my new purchase. The first shot I took, I wasn’t even sure if the shutter released, it was of a taxi. Cliche I know. But from then on our relationship blossomed. I spent the remainder of the holiday not caring about the competition, whizzing around the city shooting everything from deformed pigeons to street venders, airplanes and a birds eye view of the city on a flight to Canada.
Opening my newly developed film I was amazed. My Fisheye cared not for my lack of talent or knowledge. It didn’t care that I forgot to take the lens cap off and used the flash inappropriately 70% of the time. We had become a partnership and it wanted to help me take photos, taking it upon itself to add something special to my clumsy shots. Since then my Fisheye has become my closest companion, perfectly loyal it remains my chaperon at parties, drinking buddy in the evening and uke at training. We go on holiday together, it competes with me, and helps me to preserve some of my greatest memories.
Forget dogs, a camera is man’s best friend.
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