Splendid Details: Camera Evolution

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It’s funny thinking about how much the photography industry has changed in the past decade.
It’s amazing to me every time I hear of people that have never shot with film, or all they know is digital. I have fond memories of loading a crappy 35mm zoom camera when I was a little girl. And no, that’s not because I am a photographer …I didn’t get interested in photography until my senior year in high school! That doesn’t change the memories of hearing the clink of 35mm in its case ready to be loaded. Or the memories of knowing you only had the 24 frames, so you need to make them good. Or the anticipation while waiting at the drugstore to see the pictures that were taken during vacation. Ahh the anticipation of what may or may not be on that roll was so much fun! In high school, I got into photography a bit more seriously and it changed how I look at the world. I am always framing things to fit into the camera in my mind. Pete laughs at me whenever we go somewhere, as  I am likely to stop and stare off at some way light is hitting a wall and me momentarily mesmerized.

This picture is a photo of Polaroids I took of my brother, myself and Pete outside of our old house with my 4×5

I got into photo school back in 2003 and things were still very film focused. We, as first year students, were not even allowed to use the computers that the program had. We were required to buy a 4×5 camera (think Ansel Adams…it is the huge camera that you see people in the old days with a big black sheet over their head, hunched over the camera and all you see is someone’s butt, a black sheet and tripod legs.)

This camera is the end all be all of SLOW DOWN and think about the photo you are about to take.  It is something that I appreciate now and try to keep in mind when I shoot. Slow down, think of the image you want, and wait for it to be there, or create it if you can. And that was just 7 years ago! Now, the program that  I went to,  which is Seattle Central Community College’s Commercial Photography Program* , doesn’t have a dark room, and doesn’t require film at all. I am not saying this is bad, just different… and amazing to me that in such a short amount of time, film is a complete side note… digital is all.

*If you are interested in photo school and live in the Seattle area, that is an AMAZING program. My life would be very different if I hadn’t gone through that program and highly suggest it.

You used to buy an expensive camera and keep it for 25+ years. You would know that camera body more intimately than you knew your lover. Every bit and piece worked the same way, and sometimes that way was funky… but you knew well how your camera made a funky sound at 1/125 of a second, or how it was tricky putting the lens hood on, and only you could ever do it so it didn’t fall off mid shoot. Your camera had character.

We are a bit disconnected from that reality now adays. It’s expected to have to buy a brand new camera every 18-24 months that will cost you in the range of $2-8K (yep, as in thousands of dollars) just to stay current. By the time we are getting past first base with our camera, we are already looking at the next newer, shinier, younger 🙂 model and how much better it is. Better resolution, better chip, better in low light, better ergonomics, better shutter, better better better.  We don’t get to have the love affair with cameras like it used to be.

We treat our cameras these days as the rich old man treats his trophy wife….. ewww…

I am like a lot of photographers I know, though. We all love, old funky cameras that remind us of where photography has been. And how much it has changed! So… I thought it would be fun to show a couple pictures of the funky old cameras that I have… film and digital 🙂

This Rollei has a cool history. It is actually a friends camera that they have just semi-permanently loaned me, but his grandpa took it off a Nazi soldier during World War II when the soldier was captured. Apparently back in those days, the soldiers just got to take their spoils home! That’s why the info on the back of the camera is in German.

This Kodak Pony is fun because it actually calls out for use of Kodachrome film. Kodachrome is one of the oldest 35mm mass manufactured films. Kodachrome was produced up until 2009! It was film speed 50…so BRIGHT days only 🙂

I love my Holga. Holga’s are great little plastic “toy” cameras because you don’t get to decide on exposure, focus or anything. They are known for their light leaks, and that is why I have gaffers tape all along the back of it. So it only gives so much light leaks. In all honesty I probably ruined the film in it because I had it in the direct sunshine for that 20 seconds…

This beat up camera I don’t even know what brand it is. I have never been able to open it. But it’s fun none the less 🙂

Ahh my first love affair with Nikon. Well, that’s not true. I had an N65 before this one, but it was stolen. Then I got a Canon…realized they were not like my lover Nikon… and reverted. I was soooooo excited when I bought this camera. It will stay with me forever 🙂

Then my second digital. My first was the Nikon D70 which I thought was hot shit like you wouldn’t believe. That was before I realized that digital bodies were not long time love affairs, but quick hot love affairs just to be shelved in a year …. The D200 I was in love with too. Then I bought my D300 (which is the reflection…. because it was funner to take than to find the battery and switch to the D200…)

… and in a couple weeks I will be buying a D700… because it’s been two years, and I now have that newer, better, bigger in my minds eye.

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