Ok, I might have a problem with cameras, owning and shooting that is. While I was preparing and trying to pack my bag for a shoot last night, I came across my very own Pentax K110. Not one of the latest DSLR’s, but a camera that reminds me of how I started shooting with a purpose .
I say with a purpose, because I got my K110 when I was at college and had photographic assignments to complete. But this is not what I mean when I talk about camera nostalgia.
Once I picked the camera up and hold it in my hand I got taken to a place which fills me with joy, with excitement, with love. It feels just right – and I only ever feel this when I hold my Pentax K110, not with any other camera I own. There are other cameras that I might even prefer to shoot with, but even though, I never have the same connection. I love my Holga for example. I took this pretty little thing to so many occasions and took so many great photographs, almost unreal. I also love my Pentax ME Super, my Box Brownie and my Smena 8M – I could continue now for a while – but I don’t feel this camera nostalgia when I pick them up, never. My latest love-hate relationship is with my Diana+. I bought that little gem a few months ago, when I come to think about it, probably more like a year or more, but anyway. There I was unwrapping the Diana and then … a feeling that is most likely to be describes as “OH…, go away you … you unsympathetic thing, go way, I don’t want to play with you”. That’s the ugly truth – a sensation never experienced before. Honestly, I hated that black and green thing that was now doomed to clutter up my shelf. The worst thing about this tricky situation: I was in fact really looking forward to shoot with the Diana.
And that feeling stayed with me for a long time. Until about a month ago when I took it off the shelf, packed it and four rolls of freshly expired film and went to a Steam Rally. I loaded, aimed and shot – and while I pressed the shutter for first time I thought to myself:
“This will be a good photograph! And all the others will be too.” Guess what, they were all absolutely stunning images – I will post a photo essay soon. And this brings me back to my problem with cameras: As mentioned, I was packing my bag for a shoot, but could not decide which cameras to take, not in the slightest. So I’m sitting there at the kitchen table with about 5 cameras in front of me and cannot make a decision. ME Super, Holga, K110, Smena, Vivitar W&S…. Diana….
I mean, how can I want to take a camera that I hated before, and now still have this love/hate thing going on? Strange, right?! One condition of the shoot is to take some fisheye photographs. So it is a yes for Holga and ME Super. Both produce rather nice fisheye images. Further plus is that I just bought a fridge load of 35mm film, which I can feed the ME Super. Sorted. OH, no not quite…. hand on…
How many cameras might one take before they are being labelled as being a crazy camera geek? I admit, I am a cam whore, but it is well worth that label. I enjoy it, I love it.
I really want to take the K110 since I haven’t used it in a while and just remember that great connection the camera and I have. I need to take the K110. New though: “What about the Brownie?” I took it out just last weekend to get some sample images for a camera review I’m currently writing, and I truly enjoy the dreamy scenes the Brownie shows me. “Arghh… confused now!”
So let’s recap: K110 (for camera nostalgia), ME Super (for fresh never shot before 35mm film usage and fisheye purposes), Holga (my love and for fisheye and eye-opening results)… Diana?! I won’t take the Vivitar, Brownie or Smena, not this time, they go back on the shelf and can wait for their big day – just not feeling it at the moment, cannot force it. Still unsure about the Diana … guess I still have a few hours until I need to make the final decision whether or not to take it, but I’m sure it won’t be easy… and that’s the problem with enjoying cameras. I can never have enough to play with, but I can also have too many when I need to decide which ones to take. Some days, I just feel it, I walk in the room, pick the one of the shelf, load it and go out and have fun. Other day, like last night, I struggle to make a decision.
I have a relationship with every of my cameras, a relationship I call camera nostalgia. Every camera means something else to me and I use a different camera based on my mood, the situation, the film I’m about to use and the ideas and concepts behind the shot. I enjoy this and hope this will continue for a long time – camera nostalgia.