Immediately afterwards, I drove to Independence to shoot for a month.
Located just east of the great Sierra Nevada mountains in California, this area is beautiful and frequented by landscape photographers and geologists alike. It was probably close to my tenth trip there. A favorite image is Mt. Williamson from Manzanar by Ansel Adams. Mr. Adams published a book entitled Manzanar, and my friend Karen Matsuoka worked diligently on an oral history project for San Jose's surviving internment victims in '99. That collection is housed at JANM. She became a Rhodes scholar and we've lost touch. I seem to recall her shooting with a Nikon 35mm camera, too.
The irony of forced internment and racial profiling of Japanese-Americans by a post-Pearl Harbor attack, fear-crazed America, next to a town called Independence, should be clear. History repeats itself, though the characters change.
While at Nina's, I tried to stay cool, reviewing many past images and retroblogging my travels, mostly from my Kentucky adventures. I got my hands on some old Polaroid cameras that belonged to her grandfather.
(Insert Nina's shots) Those cameras were are far from me, so I did my best to replicate:
2010: Instax 210, 1977: Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 Model 2, 1969: Polaroid Automatic Land Camera 320.
I searched around the interwebs for these camera's value and what the pictures looked like. I thought about trying them out. Then I learned of all of the 'end of Polaroid film' stuff, and dropped it. Besides, I had this new dslr to figure out. I thought my new camera was too complicated (I still think it is). There are too many bells and whistles and too little explanation what they are good for. The basics of photography give way to bizarre opinion wars over which brand is better. It's stupid out there. I'm into pictures. I like cameras too, but inasmuch as they take pictures!
My point and shoot took (and takes) many great photos. I had it with me when visiting a thrift store in August, 2010. When I saw and held the sturdy Konica Autoreflex T, it was a mind blower.
I did not know the first thing about photography!
I went home and started reading about it. What was it? How do you make it work? Is it worth it? It was this camera that started my study of film cameras and photographic technology in earnest. When I returned two weeks later, it was no where to be found. I asked about the camera each time I returned. I even showed pictures with my iPhone to the folks. I had several confirmations, "Oh, yeah I sold that. It's was a good item." And the other, "I think that's in the trash at my house."
It took several deliberate attempts to get any follow through with my interest in this darn camera. I saw the woman pulled over once where I drove up and handed her my phone number with a note, "BIG SILVER CAMERA". My previous attempt to tell her my number failed. So, a week later (Thursday) she called saying she thought she had the silver camera.
My friend picked it up for me. It was a total basket case. It was in perfect condition in August. Thrown outside into a trash heap, it had become a real mess. Left: August 2010, Right: February 2011.
I cleaned it up today. The focus ring was busted off before.
The mirror is ruined with rot coming from under the glass. So this camera is garbage or more easily replaced with an ebay twin than by fixing. Still, I'm thankful for the adventure that it sent me on. I'm saddened by the difference in response people have to something this awesome.
Today I stopped by the used bookstore and picked up a stack of dark room books!