The click of the shutter never found such a worthy companion as the snap-crackle-pop of vinyl. From the live music capital of the world, Lomography Austin’s own megzeazez drops some audio knowledge on us thanks to her moonlighting gig as a DJ for KVRX!
Nothing has proved more prolific inspiration for me than music and photography. Five years as a DJ at 91.7 FM KVRX Austin has expanded my tastes in music, and I’ve garnered an appreciation for the art of perfecting a playlist. I’m excited to share with you a top ten list of songs I’ve compiled about cameras and photography. Some are obvious choices, while others lay off the beaten path; I hope you find a song that inspires you as you go about your day, and enriches your analogue lifestyle!
The release of Ill Communication in 1994 brought with it great expectations for Brooklyn’s own Beastie Boys. I was a young child at the time, but I can’t forget my older sister’s intense love (obsession? devotion? maniac worship?) of this three-man rap group. I’m also pretty sure we had a Canon Sure Shot at the time, possibly not the most recent or technologically advanced model for 1994, but it got the job done at family birthday parties and get-togethers. If you still have a Sure Shot out there lurking in your parent’s junk drawer, dust it off and rock it. Don’t stop. (We miss you MCA!)
With lyrics that read like poetry and a melody as melancholy as…well, numerous R.E.M. songs, “Camera” captures an atmosphere hard to describe any other way. The first time I heard this song was some days after watching Lost In Translation for the first time, and I’ve been unable to divorce the two in my mind ever since. Early R.E.M. seems to have this special quality of always making me feel like I’m living in a haze. The song captures that undefinable essence of dull heartache meets adolescent apprehension.
I’m a huge sucker for new wave music. Basically, if it has a synthesizer and it was released between 1978-1992 I can give you a 98% guarantee that I’ll like it before I hear it. That being said, when I stumbled across a song that marries new wave aesthetic with one of the most fun and interesting film formats, I instantly freaked (pun intended). After having appreciated this song for a while, without a desire to answer the question of what kind of photos creeps take, I formed this image in my mind of the suggested “gentleman”. He’s pretty much the Dos Equis man with a bellows Land Camera. “I don’t always take photographs, but when I do, I take polaroids.”
I’m aware that this song is absolutely oozing with heartbreaking depression. But we’ve all been there. The breakup, the inevitable tossing of the old photos, almost too painful to look at after the fresh slaughtering of a relationship. In today’s time, perhaps the un-tagging of the ex on your favorite social networking site. Yet, I love this song. So so much. It’s on my absolute favorite album by the Cure, 1989’s Disintegration, and while it makes me feel like I’m standing naked in the middle of a blizzard on an ice drift in the arctic ocean, it’s also a gorgeous piece of pure emotion.
I saw a Spoon music video once upon a time on 120 Minutes (remember that show?) when I was in eighth grade. The next two years of my life, I loved Spoon. I’ve had plenty of chances to see them live, as they hail from Austin, but some incident always prevented me from seeing them perform. I owned only 2 of their albums before I kind of grew out of it, but I still really dig the bass hook in this song. Also, I’ve never seen anyone cut their hand turning on a camera. I like to imagine he has a Fisheye Baby 110 camera on a Swiss Army Knife apparatus.
I guess I always took the Cars for granted until meeting my current boyfriend. He was the first guy I ever dated to own more than one album by the Cars, and I had no idea this song existed until I did some snooping. Honestly, it’s not one of their songs you hear most often on the radio, but it’s a sexy alternative! I’m a huge fan of the camera puns and innuendos speckled throughout “Panorama”. I love shooting wide with my Sprocket Rocket, and I think it fits the attitude of this song with its alluring sleek body.
I have to get this out of the way: this is one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME. Okay, you probably haven’t heard it before, and initially when this song was released on an LP in 1985, it purportedly sold only about 50 copies. But the minimal synth genre is making a comeback in a huge way. With record labels like Minimal Wave and Dark Entries dedicated to finding and re-issuing forgotten cult hits from France, Germany, Spain, and all over the world, it’s not surprise this gem of a track found its way into my collection. It’s a perfect track for adventurous Lomographers everywhere!
I didn’t just pick this track because it’s an obvious choice. I picked it because I’m a self-proclaimed Rush nerd for life. It also happens to follow the theme of the list. I was on the verge of going with “Limelight” instead, because I love the line, “living in a fisheye lens/caught in the camera eye”. But you really can’t beat a song that actually has CAMERA in the name. Be ready, this is a long jam, upwards of 10 minutes, but totally worth every second!
This song could not possibly escape the top ten list! Although Kodachrome has reached its final resting place on the edge of oblivion, we can honor its memory with this fabulously specific Paul Simon ditty. The track details the glorious wonder of his favorite film, and how the other petty trifles of youth take a backseat to the joy brought by those beautiful bright colors. I doubt I’d be alone in saying that it’s a shame that mama had to take Kodachrome away.
I arrived at my number one choice through the sentimentality that comes with being both a Lomographer and a DJ. Laylara, a fellow Lomographer and great friend of mine, inspired me to use my Diana F+ to capture feelings, adventures, day-to-day interactions, and so much more. She and her husband made a number of mix CDs for me in the years between my departure from high school to my sophomore year of college. The one that stands out the most was the mix CD for my 18th birthday. Among other favorite artists of mine like OMD and Francoise Hardy, my friends included a track from Depeche Mode’s first album, Speak and Spell. Everything about this track really embodies what it means to be a Lomographer, from start to finish.
It goes without saying (although I’m still saying it) that there are tons of songs about cameras and photography I’ve not mentioned in my top 10 list. Which songs have I left out that you want to share? I’d love to hear them all!
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