Romantic Ideas

Try listening to this podcast episode of CBC Ideas: Wachtel on the Arts with Sebastiao Selgado as I did tonight on a long run and not feel nostalgic for your old SLR camera.

I have a romantic memory of the smell, the weight, the sound, oh the sound! of my old Nikon and hearing Selgado’s soothing, lilting, slow voice spin tales of his life as a passionate photographer brought all those memories of my camera back to light.

After my run, I dusted it off, loaded an old roll of black and white film and snapped a few random pics for kicks.

“The speed of photography is…slow.  You must be there. You must give opportunity to see the phenomenon.” – Sebastiao Selgado

While my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact smart phone takes great photos (all the photos that appear on this blog were taken with it) and allows me to upload instantly, share across platforms and borders, and fits conveniently in my jeans pocket and my running armband, it does not feel like something magical like my Nikon did when I held its heft in my hands. The slowness that Selgado speaks of, being inside a phenomenon, is more challenging with ultra-instant gratification.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not going back to using my old SLR or even my awesome Canon G10 point and shoot, but I do miss the photographic experience they offered. Especially at the end of a roll of film when that chk-click-kug-whirrrr sound happened. Or that moment when you saw your photos for the first time days or hours after you took them and it was like Christmas morning opening gifts. And then there’s those rolls of film that you found while cleaning under the passenger seat of the car and you had no idea how long it had been there or what was on it.

There was a magic, a mystery to the old SLR way of life.

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