A true "novelty camera" story...
I was out once with the Crown in my local town just walking around. Had the whole-tomato kit going, flashbulbs and all. Three local homeless guys sized me up as I passed them by...
"Hey! Whaddya' think yer' doin'?"
"Uh... Trying out an old camera I just got."
So the Big Guy ambles over for a closer look. Definitely not hipsters, these natural born killers appear to be equal parts angry and unbalanced. He approaches, sees the camera up close... and goes suddenly quiet.
"I haven't seen one of those in years."
A pause, then softly,
"My dad used to have one just like that. He took pictures for the newspaper."
Another pause while he thought about what he had just said, then,
"Will you take my picture? All of us together?"
We moved to the side of a nearby brick building (this building actually, before the mural was restored). I asked for their patience, as I always do, while I made the incident light reading, framed, focused, used that focus distance to set the fill-flash aperture, set the shutter for ambient, and then said I was ready.
You should have seen these guys primp themselves up for the picture. It was a really big deal to them. And so it was to me also. The photograph as an event worthy of momentarily pausing everything else.
I never photograph people when they're down for the count. But for the grace of god... However when the novelty camera gets its foot in the door and I'm asked, I also never say no if I still have available film.
So we did the "cheese" thing. They just loved the flashbulb going off. I gave the burned bulb to the Big Guy as a souvenir, as I always do. I knew I couldn't ask for an email address to send a scan, so instead,
"If this turns out would you guys each like a copy?"
The Big Guy thought for a moment, then spoke poignantly for them all,
"No. What would we do with them anyway?"
So I thanked them, shook hands, and we went our separate ways. As I walked away the Big Guy was looking hard at the burned flashbulb in his hand. I don't know what he was thinking...
Postscript: It was a good thing they said no to prints. The vintage shutter had misfired slow, causing the negative to be grossly overexposed. It was this incident that prompted me to send the shutter to Carol Flutot for her world famous glam-makeover treatment. It now works pretty much as-new, with reliable and repeatable speeds across the range.
Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 07-16-2014 at 01:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."
— Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs
But for the grace....
Great, poignant story. Would make a wonderful short film.
Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick
Originally Posted by lxdude
When I go out in public with an old film camera (and they are usually at least 60 years old) I get a lot of favorable comments from other photographers. They speak fondly of the old film camera they grew up using, such as Pentax K1000 or whatever, while snapping away with their digital boxes. Most are tourists and find digital easy to use but loved their old film cameras. I would not doubt that at some point of time many of these folks will take another whack at film photography.
Indeed Snapguy, I do not get many comments on my Canon, but my Yashica-Mat always catches peoples eyes and starts a conversation. Even if it "is that a camera?" then "That is so cool/neat/ect." And with the older folks they get a smile when they see it and sometimes thank me for keeping one in working order.
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so .. they didnt tell you how to run your life, your business, were in disbelief you sell images
Originally Posted by snapguy
and tell you to dump your camera and shoot a digital camera ... but they were curious, interested and nice ?
sounds like you live in a different universe than some folks who have responded to this thread
I get mostly the same nice folks, but I get a ton of "They still make film for that?" even when it is a 35mm. For the 35mm I reply you can still get it at walmart.
Originally Posted by jnanian
but a there are people in this thread ( see the conversation before this page )
that insist someone / people do just the opposite - giving unsolicited business advice, telling them all sorts of stuff
spoke to them in a condescending way, were not nice/ harsh &c ...
and when the original person who made the post that started the conversation that was sparked by his post ( a few pages back in the middle of this thread )
was asked to actually verify if what was claimed to have happened was actually what happened he said he was too busy exposing film ... ( too funny )
granted i am sure there are some jerks out there who have nothing but negative ( pardon the pun ) things to say about film,
and using film in this day and age and how film users should get with the program ... but i have never run across any of them.
as i have said previously, my experience is similar to yours ... people are curious, interested, confused &c because they
were told film wasn't around, you can't get it processed &c read reports of companies going bankrupt, see no mini labs left,
even in their favorite drug store, and it has become hard ...
Not out of step - just suffering from a very rare phobia which is quite well demonstrated in this video starting at 2:40!!
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
Thank you, Tony. Now that I know my phobia is officially recognised by Frank Woodley, I feel entirely justified in my rabid paranoia and creeping horror of facial fungus.
(No offense, gentlemen! Possibly it's just the whole "Pash Rash" thing that puts me off.)