A story of O…

olympus_o_bw_009Few 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.



About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Art photography, Excellence, Expectation, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to A story of O…

  1. There is no way I relate to you how much I enjoyed this piece of writing!!!!!!!!

  2. I liked A.D. before the year; and this from a non-christian country. I loved the piece.

  3. cecilia says:

    Ah, That is a beautiful old camers, I have been considering bringing my Dads old Leica out into the light of day too, hmm. I wonder if it has a number.. c

    • How wonderful..a Leica…love to see a picture of it. It’s getting film processed that’s the problem.

      • cecilia says:

        And processed well, I can send it away here to somewhere starting with B. Boston Baltimore, i will need to look it up. And i can call a person and talk to them. but honestly, I can’t get the contrast that i used to when i had my own darkroom. My son gets the film processed then has a special scanner that scans the film into your computer.. The leica winds its film on awkwardly too, but i really should get back into it. The camera is after all older that me with a dear wee Russian lens.. c

      • I’m very impressed. I never processed my own colour film. Getting the transparencies or negatives scanned is the way to go. I’m interested that you should have a Russian lens on the Leica. These were very good copies of the original Zeiss lenses. It has a bit of history, your Dad’s camera.

      • cecilia says:

        Yes it does, it has lost its lens cap so when he gave it to me it had a clean marmite lid attached. Dad used to process colour too, the prints would rock in this very interesting black tube. Black and White was always my great love though, using all his old gear.. c

      • Love the Marmite lens cap:)

  4. I loved the way you conveyed sound in this piece, Roger. The snap my iPhone makes is not the same.

  5. There is nothing quite like film. I used to love buying slide film and cross processing it because of the amazing colors it’d pull. I bet you have an amazing camera collection. For a while in college, I did–still and moving. The antique shops in the Hudson River Valley were my favorite places to look.

    • Sadly, I’ve sold all my old cameras, save for the ones that my son still uses in his London studio, and the OLympus. All my current cameras are digital. Cross processing with digital images in Photoshop is quite interesting too.

  6. The sound of the whirring click gave a sense of finality to the sight before your eyes. It was code for “I got you!” It’s an aesthetic not easily duplicated. Also, it reminds me of 80s music.

  7. It looks like something from Space 1999, Roger. Looking forward to seeing the resultas!

  8. I was such a hold out when digital came about. I love old cameras and I am lucky enough to have some going back to the 20’s or so that have been passed down. I became a convert once I realised how much money I would save in processing!

  9. I only just gave up my old fashioned camera for digital. Have fun with it 🙂

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    “Mother Superior jumped the gun.” That lyric has an entirely new meaning for me now.

  11. Mary Frances says:

    Funny, we’re doing some photography here in the office right now and I was just thinking of pulling out my old NIkon.

  12. Eha says:

    Using totally ‘unladylike language’ as I come on, have just found a whole page of my blog emails have gone wandering into the ether: so you have had peace for two whole blogs I did not get . . . too mad at the ‘work’ ahead . . . just two recollections in my mind: my darling father’s fondness for his Retina II in the 1940s [no, he was just a good amateur] and my teenage fascination with Robert Capa, who did go where the guns went off . . .

  13. I’m eager to see the results of your rendezvous with O!

  14. Mad Dog says:

    I love the sound of an F2 with MD3. I still have two of them and an F3P. Sadly I never use them now. The last time I was in Process Supplies they were rationing film to 10 rolls per customer!

  15. Rachel says:

    My uncle was an aerial photographer in WW2. He doesn’t talk about it much but he shot film not people…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.