Friday, 13 November 2015

Old friends

In today's delve into The Archives I pay homage to old friends...cameras, naturellement (to be spoken in the exaggerated Basil Fawlty way).  These are just some 35+ year-old snaps of some 35+ year-old cameras.

I know that there is a famous photograph of a certain Mr A. Schwarzenegger holding a TL Electro X but I can't help but wonder if Yashicas weren't a bit asexual. The symbol on the prism housing, the name Tl Electro X - for me it has echoes of Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.  Now as good as the film was (Bladerunner, Harrison Ford&Rutger Hauer and that scene on the rooftops where Roy is reciting poetry and Oh Man all that rain and stuff Mr Ridley Scott that was your finest hour) - the book was better.

Next up we have Herr Professor R T S Contax. Most definitely a Highly Educated German Alpha Male Camera if ever there was one).  No nonsense - this was a Functional Thing.

Zeiss optics, Porsche design (Japanese Yashica electronics)

Original '70s dust on the negs above, in case you're wondering...and did you notice the old Slik playing a supporting role there?

Now...what about this lady:


This is a feminine thing, for sure.  Asahi - even the name is soft on the lips.  She's all curvy and beautiful.  And not even a wrist strap - she's a free spirit, is this one.

We did colour too for a while...

The OM-1 was my baby, just the most beautiful little piece of engineering ever, with a lovely bright viewfinder to boot.  Pictured here with a 200mm Zuiko, perfect for all those shots of motorbikes that came to the Liberties from time to time.  That would be the 50mm beside it, but I didn't use it much in those days, whereas nowadays I hardly deviate from 50mm or 35mm.  Funny how your tastes change...

Unfortunately none of these beautiful creatures are with us today.  Long gone, sold, traded, exchanged.  Ships that passed in the night...

All but the OM-1 belonged to The Brother - this is what he looked like in his Asahi days...

The Brother, snapped c1980, printed 2015

Now what is that look?  Trance-like?  Or maybe trying to perfect that 'I know what I'm about' look.  Even in them days, eh. Nowadays he's Professor of Philosophy or something at some Mid-West US University or somewhere.  Or so he tells us.  Not much time for photography anyway - too busy with books and the old brain-games.   Last time I was there he had a Nikon F100 lying about gathering dust in his garage.  I've put in a request for Santa to transport it across the pond to The Liberties, where it might see some action.  Here's hoping, eh?  

As you can see I printed that one - on Kentmere VC paper for a change.  Definitely one for the wall.  Came out nice and moody - no burning in by the way, them edges is all vignetted naturally.  C'mon, don't ask me How come that? - it was 35 years ago...

You might have seen this one before, but this is him now, printed on Kentmere VC paper.

Not quite on a par with one of Jane Bown's portraits.  More light needed!

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