Somehow, whenever I see a Canon QL17 for $10 or a Minolta A-5 for $20 or a Minox 35SE for $25, even a Leica IIIf for $100, I have to pick them up. (Those are real prices I’ve paid.) I have Leica M bodies, and great lenses–I don’t need these. But I feel like I’m rescuing some old friends when I do. They are so well made and have lasted this long, I want them to have a future. A reason to be. I only buy them if their speeds all sound close to accurate and their glass and viewfinder are clean, and the rangefinder working. These are beautiful works of art, even their leather cases are nicer than what’s being made today.
So, I have a little collection and I try to take them out at times and run a roll of Tri-x or HP5 through them. I imagine how excited they are to be back in someone’s hands, documenting someone’s life. Again. There was a time when they were used constantly, probably. But now shooting film is less than fashionable. Folks think these gems are too expensive to shoot.
I think it’s rather inexpensive compared to shooting digital and buying new cameras every two years, computers, software and hard drives, but don’t get me started. Film is my love and I am glad to be one of the photographers specializing in it, even if we are a minority.
Because when that image appears after developing the film, there’s nothing like that memory captured there forever. That piece of film was present at our Grandpa’s last birthday or our son’s first steps. That piece of film is a time capsule that will last generations if carefully treated. When the hard drives are either corrupted or long misplaced and forgotten, this piece of film will hold the image of that day, that moment.
And that’s a bit of magic. In a $10-$100 film camera with $5 film, hand-developed.
Do you rescue old beauties?