Rants and discussions

Happiness and photography gear

Caught on a car boot sale camera (Kodak Retinette II) and poundland film.

An old gripe of mine.  Allow me to express it again, as a warning to others.

Don’t be sucked into spending money on gear that doesn’t have value in terms of your happiness.  Most of us are enthusiasts and amateurs.  There is nothing inferior about that.  Our enthusiasm can be based on either photographic technology, or on photographic images.  In truth, most of our enthusiasm lays somewhere between those two poles – some more by the technology, some more by photographs.  Either way, what really is important – or should be, to us enthusiasts, is happiness.

It is all so easy, and very common, for novices to be drawn towards spending more money, in the pursuit of happiness.  However, they do not always get what they wanted.  They may find, that their photography doesn’t really improve much.  They might find that spending another grand, allows them to capture some images in slightly poorer light, perhaps slightly closer, perhaps slightly further away, or perhaps with slightly more resolution.  No doubt there is a short lived gratification “I couldn’t have caught that on my last lens / body”.  Wow, look at that moon surface / macro of a bug / etc.  Cool images.  However, does this expensive imagery really enhance your creativity or skill base?  Once you’ve got closer to the moon, what is next?  How much did that image cost in monetary terms?  Has it been done before?  Is someone doing it better with even more expensive, or newer gear?

How much happiness do you think that I’ve had out of the 50p camera project?  Compare it to the purchase of a new upgrade DSLR camera.  The DSLR might have cost you around £500.00.  My XA2 snapshot camera cost £00.50.  Okay, I’ve also used film, but mainly budget or home developed.  Still, how much happiness do you think that the DSLR gives you in comparison?  I’m quite proud of some of the photographs that I’ve got out of the XA2.  They may be lo-fi but some are pretty cool and even unique.  I’ve tried to be creative.  Not always an easy thing for me.  There are no attachments or upgrades for it.  For the DSLR, you bet that you are going to desire new lenses, extensions, flashlights, bags, battery grips, etc.

That is the chief message of this blog.  Think, don’t just spend.

50p camera

One that got away.

Emancipation.  Olympus XA2 35mm film compact camera. Kodak T-Max 400 b/w film. Developed in LC29.

Apologies first for being a Flickr and click whore.  I’m well aware how shallow and meaningless that is.  So don’t go thinking that I’m not concerned myself, how we are all directed to respond to Likes and Faves in our day to day life.

That out of the way, I’ve selected the above photo for this post.  It’s one that got away on Flickr.  Not much in the way of clicks or likes, but I “like” it myself.  I guess it is the opposite phenomena to some of my photos that have made it into the Flickr Explore category, even though I think that they are horrible.

This photo is part of the 50p Camera Project – having been taken on my humble and very abused Olympus XA2 compact camera.  It was taken in Wisbech at the Thomas Clarkson Memorial.  Clarkson was an English slavery abolitionist, born here in Wisbech.

I’m not sure what the woman’s posture was about – probably struggling to use a mobile phone while carrying shopping, but it seems to me to say something with the image of a manacled slave next to her.  What it says is up to you.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Local Anthrophotography

Fat Twat. Olympus XA2 50p camera project. Ilford HP5+ b/w film. ID11. V500 scanned.

I’ve long had a fascination with people.  I am an armchair anthropologist.  That is where my photography seems to be heading – capturing human culture, including their artifacts, on emulsions of silver salt.  I can’t think of a better subject than people and their incredible cultures.  Humans can be incredibly destructive and harmful.  Yet, I can’t think of another known form of Life, that creates such a diversity of culture.  That’s what I want to capture.

I should lay claim to the word anthrophotography  – is it copyright?  I’m an anthrophotographer.  What are you?

35mm, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II, Street and Protest

A Travelling Man

Wisbech car boot sale. Traveler and his dog. Olympus XA2 50p camera project. Ilford HP5+ b/w film. ID11. V500 scanned.

My favourite photography – both by other people, and myself, captures what i regard as the feeling of living some where, some corner of this earth – the locale.  this means trying to capture both the quirky, and the norm.  It includes the culture, the ethno diversity of the local people, the local sub cultures – with all of the nitty gritty – not the tourist view.

Let’s call it Anthrophotography.

I’ve made efforts already in capturing both local characters, and the immigration side.  Here at the local Sunday Market, I managed to capture another community that strongly figures in the area – the travellers.  And he’s got his dog.

35mm, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

More XA2 Fun

Meatloaf at the bus shelter. The 50p Camera Project. Olympus XA2 compact camera. Ilford HP5+ 35mm film. Developed in ID11. Scanned film on V500.

I just love this little camera that cost me 50p a few years ago.  Fits in the pocket so sweet.  Doesn’t Anita also look sweet here?  It was Valentines Day.  The car was in the garage for more repairs, and we were broke.  So on walking up to the shops, we bought a hot meatloaf.  She took a photo of me woofing meatloaf down in the bus shelter as well, but strange thing, it didn’t develop well. 😉

We’ve discussed using this bus shelter as a prop before.  Slowing down in the car, and photographing whoever is in it, as we pass.  Maybe over a year.

Film, 35mm, and scans, Yashica AW Mini - 50p camera project

Back to the Yashica 50p camera

Fenland Sky. Yashica AW Mini compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland.

Dog Attack. Yashica AW Mini compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland.

Scanning a roll of film from the Yashica AW Mini.  This was the camera that I was using in the 50p Camera Project I.  I sort of lost a bit of interest in it a few weeks ago when I bought an Olympus XA2 zone focus compact camera also for 50p, a much better quality camera, and launched the 50p Camera Project II.

As a recap, the Yashica AW Mini is nothing special.  An early 1990s compact autofocus 35mm film camera.  You know the sort of thing – black plastic, designed to slip into a pocket.  Point and click – motor wind on.  Automatic built in flash is a bit of a problem.  You can force it on, but not off.  I repeat, this is NOT one of the T series of Yashica compacts that sported a Carl Zeiss lens.  This is a relatively low budget compact with a plain unbranded lens.  The result though might be of appeal to some of the Lomo and Toy camera brigade. The Poundland film is giving great results with strong colours.

Yashica AW Mini compact camera, circa 1991 job. The 50p camera project 1. Taken with Sony A200 DSLR.