Last year I made some hesitant steps towards giving film a try once again, after not using it for more than 15+ years. I certainly can’t remember having touched film since around 2000, even though I have plenty of film cameras, so that recent nostalgia hit was interesting in many ways. It brought into focus (pun intended) what film was all about and why I’d lost interest in using it and, to a large extent, photography as well for what seemed a very long time. After those first rolls of film that I put through the old Kodak Retina and Olympus Trip 35 cameras, I was really keen on taking it further until reality, or perhaps pragmatism, hit home. I realised after a while that film, for me, was no longer relevant in any shape or form and it really didn’t bring back the ‘good old days‘ or any resurgence of potentially lost creativity.
As things would have it, it’s now been quite some time since my wife and I did an overnight trip with some friends of ours to Woods Point in the High Country, as a belated birthday present, to more or less re-create a trip that we did some 30 years ago. The last time it was to Kevington, but this time we decided to go to Woods Point, in roughly the same location, as covered in this post. That was one part of the nostalgia hit and the other involved recording the event with a range of historical photography implements. These involved a Kodak Retina circa 1957/1958, an Olympus Trip 35 circa 1974 both loaded with B&W film, and an Olympus E-M1 circa 2014, as a follow-on from my earlier post ‘The Age of Imagery’.
Late last year I went to a local garage sale and found a box of old camera gear and what caught my eye was a very old folding Kodak Retina camera. For some reason I had an urge to buy it and, as it only cost $10, I thought why not. When I brought it home, I discovered that it was in much better condition that I’d realised, virtually mint, and everything worked perfectly. After some internet searching and sending a query to a collector of these cameras, it was confirmed that this Kodak Retina was manufactured around 1957/1958 in Germany (as they were). I’m absolutely gobsmacked that such an old camera can still be in such good condition and even the case was too good to believe, a credit to the previous owner/s.
I don’t really suffer for my art, but I sometimes wonder what motivates some regarding what they do, especially with historical artworks. Not that what follows is anything new, but I believe that there are ways in which you can adapt historical artworks, and then there are ways that you should not. Of course, as with everything it’s a matter of taste but, unfortunately, that makes just about everything fair game in the ‘art’ world, whether it’s in good taste or bad taste. So what follows is a bit of a navel gazing exercise on Photoshop, portraiture and good and bad taste.
Very few forms of photography seem to raise the passions of latter day amateur photographers more so than what is termed ‘street photography’, which I touched on in an earlier post and wanted to ponder in greater detail. The topic comes up regularly on photography forums, photography blogs etc (and now here!), but no one can really come up with a substantive explanation of what differentiates street photography from other forms of photography that ostensibly appear the same, notably documentary photography. Purists seem to associate street photography with a photograph involving a person/s, on a street, photographed discretely, capturing ‘The Decisive Moment‘, with the final image converted to B&W (for nostalgic purposes honouring the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson – who was actually a photo-journalist).
In my older film days, everyone used prime lenses (lenses of a single focal length) because either zoom lenses were not available, or they were of fairly poor quality (as zoom lenses were in those days). However, technology always advances and, nowadays, zoom lenses (the good ones) are as good, if not better, in optical quality than many prime lenses. Zoom lenses also provide great flexibility and versatility, because you effectively have many prime lenses in the one lens. That said, many internet professional-amateur photographers vehemently disparage zoom lenses because they don’t represent the purity of photography that they require, and which they believe can only be attained with prime lenses. I would suggest that view is debatable.