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Post by alexvaras » Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:46 am

Hi all,

This is a year of chances in my life, a close friend told me cameras and women are the same for me, that I can't have only one.
I want to believe she is not right but there is always a chance... as a person who ask 'why' a lot I wonder why I keep buying/testing new cameras, formats, films, etc... Phil said once I'm in my "searching" period and I have found some cameras I'm very happy with (Medalist II, Superb, Super Isollete, Bergheil and maybe Plaubel Makina II).

After thinking about this my first conclusion is that the "camera + me" is something unique, my brain can see the frames, analyse the light and other technical details but what I feel holding the camera makes me discard one photo for another up to the camera I have in that situation.

Have you ever thought about this? Feel free to answer as long or detail, this topic is quite personal but I wanted to share this question you all.

Thank you in advance,

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Re: Why?

Post by Brazile » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:41 am

My opinion: comparing cameras to people as she did is not really very nice, in my opinion. Cameras are tools, and whether you use one or many makes little difference to them, other than the effects of usage or non-usage. People are not (certainly should not be) tools; they have agency and feelings and it's a category error to make this comparison, however joking (although it sounds a bit pointed to me).

That said, I went through a phase such as yours for about 5-6 years. Discovering that the cameras I'd wanted but assumed I'd never be able to afford when I was 20 were pennies on the dollar when I was 45 enabled me to explore all kinds of equipment I'd only ever seen in magazines or behind glass at the local camera store. Plus I'd always had a fascination for historical technology, and on top of all of that the existence of a huge body of knowledge on the internet gave an opportunity to learn skills and techniques that would have been much more difficult to self-teach when I was young. So I went nuts, bought all kinds of cameras (I honestly have no idea how many cameras I have at this point, ranging from small format to medium format to large format to (now) ultra large format, but they were all amazingly inexpensive at the time) and had (and still do have) a blast playing with them. Phil got to watch a fair bit of this experimentation phase via Flickr, so he can attest to it. :-)

Anyhow, in the end, I've slowed down a lot. I now think a lot more about what I want to shoot, and what therefore is the best tool available for that. When I'm bored, I still have a lot of fun toys to play with that I haven't picked up in a while. And sometimes they're just fun to get down and hold in my hand and fire the shutter every once in a while. I could cull the herd a bit if there were some reason to, and I've been willing to give a few of them away to promising youngsters who seemed interested in the craft. But while the pressure to acquire and experiment has dropped way off, neither has the pressure to clear the decks and "simplify" built up on me, as it does for some people. So, as in my woodshop, I have multiple shelves full of gear, and when I have a subject I'd like to shoot, I scan the tools available for what seems like the most appropriate one for the job...


p.s. and I still have two cameras I've never shot and need to find an opportunity to try out. First, a trichrome camera I bought a couple years ago from Mark Osterman: a 4x5 with one lens and a rig of prism and mirrors that allows a simultaneous exposure through three holders that have R, G, and B filters on them respectively. You can then recombine the three color separations to make a full color image. Second, a very kind and generous new friend I met at a dry plate collodion workshop in May lent me her 11x14 Gibellini to try out. She was very frustrated with it (a long story) and I think just wanted it out of her sight, so it simply appeared -- in a very large travel case -- on my doorstep one day. Sadly, the summer was crazy busy and I just didn't have time to play with it, but I hope to soon to justify her expense and trouble...

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Re: Why?

Post by titrisol » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:33 pm

I wouldn;t say that cameras and women are similar....

YET, Cameras are each a unique object, that allow you to see things differently because you can focus in something else in each of them
Rotating or using one or the other (especially vintage ones) forces you to maximize your film usage and to try and obtain images that suit the shooting method that you develop with that camera; and thus the results are going to be a bit different or very different
So unlike women you can have more than one without jealousy or catfights
If you can't fix it with a hammer... you got an electrical problem
even duct tape can't fix stupid.... but it can muffle it (SilentObserver)
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Re: Why?

Post by PFMcFarland » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:38 pm

I understand totally what your friend means, Alex. It has nothing to do with equating people with camera gear, just that you have an abundant interest in more than one version of either.

You also have a talent for repairing cameras which you'd probably grow tired of if it was your only means of income. It's fun sometimes to be able to take something that has not had much attention over the years, and bring it back to usefulness without having to pay someone else to do so.

There are so many types, brands, and models of camera systems out there that one could never run out of something new to try as long as the bank account holds up. And somehow, I feel it's the same way with women. One could go bankrupt quite easily in high pursuit of either or both.

Waiting for the light

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Re: Why?

Post by melek » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:31 am

Alex - you are roughly where I was about 15 years ago. It was a great place to be, and I urge you to enjoy every moment of it.

Photography has given me so much in my life. Mostly, it's been a fun diversion from work and politics.

I'm starting to get back into film. Digital is fun, but I find that film is much more satisfying. The cameras on my desk at this very moment are a Rolleiflex SL 3001, an Agfa Ambi Silette and a Zeiss Ikon Super Nettel (in need of restoration - shutter straps and thorough CLA).

So, I say that you should keep on finding new cameras. Eventually, you will settle on a handful of favorites. And then you can tell us which are your favorites.
-Mike Elek

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