Few people are lucky enough to have an aluminium body. I am amongst that happy band, and, what is more, my body is numbered lest someone, unauthorised and maybe less suitable, should lay claim to it. I had forgotten how lucky I was to have such a lightweight body and to benefit from the advantages of not only being corrosion resistant but also a jolly good conductor. I was thinking of demonstrating this natural ability from the podium at the Albert Hall rather than from the rain swept platform of the No.9 from Kensington High Street.
Last night I had been watching a film about combat photographers ( “The Bang Bang Club”) and, apart from finding it a powerful piece of work, I was reminded of how cameras used to sound. It was a sound with which I had spent my days for some 35 years, yet it sounded completely fresh and new. Hearing the definitive, mechanical clack of the mirror and shutter on old Nikons, F3’s and F2’s with big clunky motor drives, took me back in time. Combat photography and me were never going to be partners. For one, I don’t want to go anywhere near people with guns, especially ones that might point one at me, an d secondly I’m too slow. An art director of Nova Magazine once said to me ” By the time you’ve warmed the polaroid under your armpit and had a good look, the dust will have settled and you’ll catch a shot of the ambulance disappearing round the corner”. I wasn’t cut out for reportage, although I did stay in a convent one night, when doing a story on nuns in Notting Hill. At the end of the evening, when I had clearly ascertained that one of the young postulants enjoyed a drink and wasn’t that set on being a monogamous bride of Christ, Mother Superior removed all holy images from my room. I stayed in studio after that. However, due to the influence of last night’s film together with my wife’s suggestion that she would like to take some holiday snaps with a real camera, the Olympus O Product has been brought out of retirement. I’ll let you know what happens.