Friday, June 13, 2008

Anti Gear-Head

A friend of mine, who had a lot of cameras, recently sold a bunch of them. He loves cameras, but decided that there were too many hanging around that he never really used. His primary film camera is a Leica, and he shoots most of the editorial work he does with the two he has.

Two other friends of mine just bought into the Leica digital and it has become all-consuming for them. Everywhere they go, it goes.

I'm so not a gear-head. I'm happy with my little menagerie of misfit cameras. They are all different and do the job I want them to do. Currently in my arsenal:

- My beloved 35mm Pentax ZX-M
- My wonderful 35mm Konica Auto-Reflex Half-Frame
- My kick ass Mamiya 645 system w/ the Polaroid back
- My workhorse 35mm NIkon F5
- My extremely durable, but outdated Nikon D50 digital

And other than the many antique cameras I have, that's it.

Sometimes I worry when I show up for a gig that someone will pass judgement that I'm not whipping out the Hasselblad, or the whatever with the Leaf back, but you know, fuck it, I do really good work with my versatile collection of freaks.

The Pentax is my third. It's the third because it is an extension of my hand and brain. I can do anything with this camera.

The first passed away in a boating accident ("This was no boating accident!") somewhere between here and Boston in 1988. The camera flew out of my hand across the boat in a violent storm and hit the opposite wall 12 feet way and the body cracked in half. I was seasick, so at the moment I really didn't care. But when I took it to the repair shop in Boston the week after the storm, the guy said "You got insurance?" After I indicated that I didn't, he let it fall 4 feet into a trash can. Blam. Harsh, but lesson learned...

The second was stolen by some marauding drag queens at the launch party for an album called "Disco Divas" that a client of mine invited me to. I'm not so upset about the camera as I am about the roll of film that was in it from that night.

The third was given to me by a former girlfriend for Christmas in 2001. It's still here, and it recently took this shot of Carolyn:

The F5 doesn't get enough play, but I spoke to it tonight and promised to take it out for walkies more often.

The Konica I got off of eBay about a year ago with the intention of making it an in-camera diptych taking machine. Something to make me think before shooting. I've been so successful with it that a certain young talented female photographer has been using it a lot lately and is proving to be better at making them than I am.

The Mamiya is my high-tech baby. Three lenses and the Pola back. There is nothing like looking through the glass of those lenses. And the shots are magical.

Four days ago I dropped my Nikon digital and fucked up the lens - no big deal as you can get those toys for $189.99 at B&H, but I have missed it's simplicity and versatility this week. I need to either get that lens fixed or just get another one.

On the musical tip, the new NIN album, "The Slip" is pretty darn good, and I'm not even the biggest fan. Trent is giving it away for free at the official "Slip " site.

Check it out.


hypolux said...

Fancy shit is way overrated, I am dreading having to hear all the gear head chatter I will be enduring tomorrow morning.....a tool is a tool is a tool is a tool is a......blablabla...good luck selling that wisdom tho - maybe it'd be more palatable shoved into the folds of a fortune cookie.

More on polaroid backs later - and on a related note, you meed to remind me as to what size film you've got stashed...heaven forbid the camera fairy should strike.

bt said...

Ahh..what is importent my friend you will always have..and that resides 3" behind the viewfinder.

You rock.


Anonymous said...

I figure you have too damn much stuff if you can't carry it all in one throw... Helmut Newton used a couple of cheap consumer Canons and 2-3 prime lens for most of his later work, ghetto lighting too.

G said...

my lowly fm3-a is getting a lot of run lately.
i can't get over how much more unexplainable goodness comes through compared to my digital.
*still looking for a 6x6, auto-exposure/aperture-priority/fast shutter speed/under $1K/perhaps non-existent camera*.