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You might know that my trip ends in a few days.
One of the big things during this travel was the making of pictures. Photography if you prefer. Or the collection of pictorial aides to remember, or a visual recreation of reality through photosensitive archiving technology.
You’ve got to know something first. When I talk about my relation to photography, it’s a whole history of broken cameras.
That’s why I never bought a digital single lens reflex : it’s only for wankers or people who use them professionnaly (and I’m neither), it’s heavy, fragile, and in three years I’ll want the next one with 15,2 megapixels instead of 14,7 right now. Fuck megapixels. When you buy a $1000+ tool you want it to last a lifetime or two, not three years. But well, that’s the fashion of the time, disposable technologies. Some things still can’t die, like Leica cameras, that is some sturdy toys (alt-tab, MS Office, new document, save as… “santa letter wishlist 2010.ppt”) and anyways nothing’s better than film, except of course the new Canikon that’s just been announced and that will be the Death of Film, and it can film HD Video and transmit it on Vimeo (regular video are uploaded to YouTube after going through CuteCatFilter), also you can use it to print buisness cards and as an ashtray. Professional use, I said. Then for the wankers you’ve got the overcompensating entry level camera that looks like you’re In Charge but that gets stolen at a market in Mongolia, or falls on a stone in India or drowns in Pisco Sour in Chile because it’s a hard life being a crappy level entry Digital SLR that even Peruvians won’t steal.
Besides that, people who know me say I’m such a nice guy.
So yeah I was saying, my relationship with photography is on a bed of broken cameras. I know my cameras will have technical issues, will fall or will decide to take a day off, but still at the end of the day I’ll have some pictures I’m happy about.
During the course of this trip I owned and used five cameras. Two suffered from bad technical failures, one from a mild electrical problem that goes to prove that too much electronics in a camera is bad news for you. I left with a digital camera, a compact, the Ricoh GRD II, that I had bought second hand for this trip. It worked very well for some time then, when the waranty expired, it decided to die. It conquered me though, the ease of utilisation and the sensor weren’t unlike using a film camera. Almost. But not quite the same though. I also had a Canon Canonet QL GIII which hasn’t had any problem, also I love it because it’s very compact. And I had my favorite medium format camera, a Yashica Mat 124G, a nice TLR whose lightmeter started getting troubles and who wasn’t as fun to carry around as I thought it would be.
So I replaced my Ricoh GRD II with a Ricoh GRD III, its immediate successor. I bought it in Guangzhou, China, so it wasn’t very expensive. Less expensive than in Hong Kong, and waaay less expensive than in Europe. The sensor is a bit different on the new one, but it was a matter of weeks until I could use it with greater ease than its predecessor. Fast and simple, and with a wide engle prime lens.
When the Yashica started not working I didn’t want to replace it with another medium format : film is hard to find, the thing’s heavy and not practical to carry around on strolls around the countries of the world. Even though I loved it. So I sent it back, from Bangkok, with the Canonet. And I bought a very good film SLR, the Pentax LX, with a rare 40mm “pancake” hypercompact prime lens, which makes it just a little bit bigger than the Canonet but better, basically. The Pentax LX is one of the most famous unknown best pro film 35mm SLR. And it’s black, so it looks very, very sweet. The problem I discovered one week later is that it eats batteries in a week. I was already out of Bangkok and couldn’t bring it back though, it would have been too simple. It’s a technical problem I couldn’t address at the Pentax Repair Center in Tokyo because it took too much time and money to repair it. So I sometimes had to Use The Force to mesure the right exposure for my shots. Nothing’s better than the Sunny F/16, yo.
And all the films, what did you do of them, do you carry them around? Nay my beloved. I sent them back in bunches and no package has been lost so it’s perfect. And now they are waiting for me in fridges around France until they will be developed in the travel order : Russia, Mongolia, China… and so on. I’ll see if I publish it here on the net as soon as I get them, or if I’ll wait to have something to show. But yeah, that is the super projects for the future.
And now, here’s about thirty pictures chosen among the best of the digital pictures I liked. I used a lot the square format but I grew out of it, then I abandonned black&white to go play with colours. Look for turquoise blue skies.
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