I was taking photos in Skid Row, LA and a homeless guy walked right past me and said, "Is that a Hasselblad man?" I replied "I wish I could afford one!" and laughed. He laughed with me. And it was a pretty beat up Rolleicord.
Another time I took my 4x5 press camera to a rooftop party and had lots of party guests swarming around looking at it. And then someone broke out his Iphone to take photos of me taking photos and put them on Facebook. It was a fun party.
Hmm, makes one wonder whether that homeless guy was once a photographer himself..I don't think any laymen would be familiar with the name Hasselblad.
Originally Posted by athanasius80
An anecdote: That happened to me too, I was in a local vacation spot photographing this 60 year old hotel with my Yashica Mat EM when the manager came out and asked me directly "Is that a Rolleiflex?"..to which I replied "No"...fail! In retrospect, I should've replied "No, but how I wish it was!"
It's like the word "celluloid." People don't know what it means but they only know it has something, vaguely, to do with photography or movies.
If somebody sees an old camera they don't recognize they might think it's a Rolleiflex or a Hasselblad, not because they do or don't recognize it as such but because they vaguely know those words and associate them with cameras.
People will refer to movies as "celluloid" not knowing that true celluloid is unstable and highly inflammable. True celluloid has not been produced commercially for many years. However, people still refer to "film" as "celluloid." When called on it, they'll say that it's just a slang word that refers to all film. That might be right in a manner of speaking but, logically speaking, that would be like calling everybody who lives in the United States "New Yorkers." True; some people who live in the U.S. are "New Yorkers". All "New Yorkers" are Americans but not all Americans are New Yorkers. True; celluloid is film and some film is "celluloid." Not all film is "celluloid." (Ignoring the fact that celluloid has been used to make things besides film.)
So, people who see an old camera might ask whether it's a Rolleiflex, not because they know about cameras but because they only know the word but not what it really means.
The next question would be whether people are more at ease getting their picture taken by an "old camera" for some reason. Do they feel more important because they are getting their picture taken with a "Rolleiflex" or a "Haselblad," not because they know what those names mean but because they just know that those names are synonymous with "old camera?"
Do you think that people would be more impressed by having their picture taken by a Rolleiflex versus a Yashica-Mat? If I covered up the name "Yashica" on the front of my camera and put "Rolleiflex" on the label instead, would they behave differently even though it's the exact same camera? If I did the reverse, would they be less impressed to think that they are being photographed with a cheaper, "Poor Man's Rolleiflex?"
Maybe in the days when those cameras were more normal but, today, when people don't know sh*t from shinola, in terms of cameras, would it still make a difference?
I think you also get a different reaction when you use a tripod. People think you are getting a serious picture and not just snapping away at people. I have noticed this with both my Mamiya rb67 and my 35mm. In one case I was taking some pictures for stock at an art show and a guy that appeared to be a foreigner and his son stood in front of my camera to have their picture taken. I tried to explain that I was not with the newspaper or anything, but he just stood there. So I took a picture of them. Another time with my 67 at a beach, a guy came up and said, 'a guy after my own heart' or something like that. He went on to say he used to have a Rollie and how he wished he still had it. Had I not been using a tripod, I think I might have gone unnoticed. I do also think that with a MF (or LF) people think you are a pro and are working for someone or selling your pictures. I think if I have to take pictures in a town I will put on black pants and a white shirt with a pocket protector and pen, wear a tie and a yellow hard hat with something like D.of P.N on it. That way when someone sees me they will know that I work for the Dept. of Photography Nuts. It might work! Ric.
We have a classic collector car show in our old-time town centre today. I decided that I'd take my Mamiya C330 to take some photos (use a classic to shoot a classic ).
I was leaning down to take a close-up shot of detail on one of the cars (a "Bel-Aire" name plate) and the owner said to me:
1) there is someone who knows what he is doing with a camera; and then, later
2) is that a Hasselblad (my first one ever!)?
We had a nice conversation about cameras and cars. I told him I thought about 2/3 of the cars there were older than my camera, and 1/3 of the cars were newer.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)