A reflection on the growth of my camera collection, and the growth of my person. Why do we take photos? Why do we collect cameras? What does photography mean to you?
Film camera #50 is en route…
Stop right there. It’s not as crazy as it sounds! Many of these were obtained at bargain rates in thrift stores and antique shops. Prices have ranged from $3 to $30 on average, while big purchases like the LC-Wide and the Horizon are far fewer. You spend your money on beer, shoes, travel, vinyl records… Those things, they mean something to you, right?
For me, cameras are not meaningless objects. They are tools with the ability to document, to make a record of the changing world. Imagine the history each of these pieces have; their previous owners, the people and places they’ve been and “seen”. Consider next the places that I will take them, the things we will do.
It may seem to my friends that photography is all that I post about, all that I do…And in truth, I think that the art may define me. Though not a working professional in the field, I love the camera, I love the photograph. We are living in a digital world, in an age when we are best represented by our profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn. When we grow old and die, what remains? If all of our memories are stored on discs and drives…If all proof of our lives are preserved in pixels and bytes, then what’s left for the future generations? Moments are forgotten as memory fails, and as our colleagues disappear, so does our collective history.
When I die, I’ll leave behind hundreds, thousands of negatives, and photographic prints, snapshots of my life. Will anybody care? Probably not. As stated previously, I’m no professional, and I hardly invest the time or care to create perfection. One could argue that I don’t even create “art”; I argue that such was never my intention. Many of my friends have projects, have vision, have themes. Me? I’m not saying anything. There’s no greater message, no subtext, no metaphor.
I just want to take a lot of pictures. I just want people to know where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, who I’ve laughed with, who I’ve slept with, and all the details of the beautiful world around me.
This world is chaotic; it truly is. Poverty and corruption, disease and scandal, pain and death, overpopulation and extinction, pollution and fear, shame and bigotry, bias and oppression, and blah blah blah and so on. It’s a crazy world, but hell, it’s beautiful, and it’s my world. These are the times we live in, and this is the way things are.
I’ll take my 50 cameras and I’ll keep shooting them. I’ll get better, and you’ll be able to see that improvement. Actually, that’s already visible now. Start at the last page of my Lomo Home and work your way forward; The milestones in my life are quite clear. Obvious are the acquisitions of new (and fancier) cameras and lenses; but it’s not just my gear. It’s the way that I see and “say” things. I begin to experiment with new films, I adopt new techniques.
More notable than my growth as a photographer are the changes in my life and lifestyle. Every moment is documented and on display for you. Some friends come and go, some faces pop up quite frequently, then disappear completely. Lovers and friends, each of them indicative of a point in time, in MY time. I move. I change. I endure. With these transitions, there is an accompanying change in the way that I perceive the world. If you look carefully, you can see the change in my heart and soul as well. Photography has made me new friends, some of my BEST friends. It’s taken me to places that I’d never have been and opened my eyes to worlds that I may never have discovered on my own. I wouldn’t trade any of that for all the money in the world.
I’m 28. It’s been 5 years since I purchased my first film camera, and the number of photographs taken each year has increased exponentially. By the time I’m 30, I expect that I would have taken twice as many photos as I have in all of the years prior combined.
Check in with me when I’m thirty-three. Perhaps I’ll be teaching photography. Perhaps not. No matter where I end up, no matter where I go, I’m sure that there will be a record of my activity. Should you and I lose touch…should we forget to call or write or text or chat, you know where you can find me:
In the pictures.
Until then, stay shooting. Remember, Lomography is not an interference in your life, It’s a part of it. Buy cameras, take photos, share them, and show the world who you are and what 2012 felt like.