As a result of my obsession with great mid-century photographers like Steichen, Beaton, Penn, Parkinson and Horst I developed an interest in shooting with vintage cameras. In fact, I’ve never owned a digital one. Strong as the temptation is to be able to shoot 68,000 photos a day – and discard an unlimited number of rejects at will – I’m a firm believer that the pressure of having to pay for every single shot results in better photographs. It does for me, anyway. I am also a complete sucker for the romance of shooting with cameras that are so undeniably full of character. I can tell you, for a fact, that the cameras themselves have an definite effect on their human subjects. Everyone I’ve ever taken a photo of with my large format ’40’s Crown Graphic, medium format 1958 Rolleiflex 2.8e or my 3D David White Stereo Realist (1960’s – yes… 3D) is completely taken with them. People are even amazed when I use my 35mm Pentax K1000 from the ’70’s (a mere baby – younger than me!) and are surprised to see me using film. The presence of those magical devices intrigues everyone.
No doubt vintage cameras present challenges for the user, and may yield their treasures less easily than their modern counterparts: but the results, when they’re successful, are really satisfying.
…Nothing like the real thing.