All of us hit a block. A few rolls of film with nothing. A thousand or so digital files of nothing. Here’s a quick solution. Buy a cheap crappy good camera. My Ricoh rz770 was my girlfriend’s and has an overwhelmingly high buy it now price on ebay of $3.79. It sports a 35-70 zoom lens, a terribly weak flash that I always seem to forget to turn off, and… well that’s about it. But on the plus side; I’m not carrying a big camera, or multiple lenses, or a lightmeter or even a bag. Just the camera in my pocket and a few rolls of film and off I go. The real beauty is that you never know what you’re going to get, where it’s going to focus, how it’s going to expose etc… so all you can think about is your subject. Ahhhhhh ZEN. So, if you’re stuck or bored or not happy with what you’re getting, give it a try. You can usually buy one of these little gems for under 10 bucks at your local pawn shop. (less than the roll of film that’s in it!) It’s a lot of fun.
Ricoh RZ and Tri-x at Central Station Sydney
I take the train into the city and flip through photo books I can’t afford to buy. A typical rainy afternoon. I find a copy of Josef Koudelka’s book with beautiful black and and white panoramas and I remember a story that I had read by photographer David Hurn.
“I first met, josef in 1970. Elliot Erwitt brought him to my flat in Bayswater, London. My initial impression was of a huge grin on which was superimposed a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles. Elliott suggested that Josef should stay in my flat – affectionately known as the ‘doss house’ by the many itinerant photographers who had stayed there – for a few days, while he developed some film. My memory is that the ‘few films’ were actually 800 rolls and that he used the abode as his base camp for the next 9 years.”
I can only imagine the comraderie, the time spent in the darkroom, the pondering over contact sheets, the smell of chemicals in the air.
I would love to say “those were the good old days” but in reality I wasn’t around then, and these days we sit alone in front of computer screens. I’d like to think that the comraderie still exists, the comments left, the words of encouragement, or maybe it’s just the effect of a rainy day.
Here’s a cool little Koudelka Clip