After reading Dan’s great Japan travelogue, Super Ichiban Travel Blog, and another source where someone had his children always keep a journal when they travel, I decided I wanted to do this as well. To practice for when I go to some place that’s foreign to me, I decided to start keeping a journal when I travel to places I’ve already been. Here’s the first entry from last weekend’s trip.
This entry was originally written on 12 Feb 2010
For the past three days I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not to take the plunge into Lomography and buy a cheap Holga medium format camera. I’ve been going back and forth on whether it even makes sense to give film a try when digital photography has reached the level it already has. I am certain that within the decade we’ll have 30 megapixel 35mm-equivalent cameras that can essentially take photographs in near darkness thanks to the advances in engineering that mean we can have ISOs in the six figures without too much grain. As I try to figure out whether or not to do this, I try and think of how I would justify my purchases to my wife or others. It’s not so much that I have to justify what I buy in general, but in order to help her make sense of what I am doing. I know part of what attracts me to the idea of buying one is the idea that I’ll be touching a part of photographic history. This would be in two ways. First of all, the Diana, Holga and other lomo cameras are recreations of cameras from the 1960s through the1980s and so I would be connecting with that. Second, it is really the most affordable medium format camera I can justify. And many, if not most, photographers in the olden days of photography have used medium format cameras. Ever since I discovered that were was another format of film larger than 35mm, I’ve wanted to try this format. The fact that it’s the format of professionals just spurs me on even more. The digital medium format cameras are in the $30,000 range, so those are way out of my reach. But a Diana, Holga, or even an LC-A would be affordable.
Of course, there is the other side of things. First of all, Holga cameras are crap. So I wonder if I’m setting myself up for unjustified disappointment in the medium format. Second, am I just following the crowd? There are a bunch of people, of which I wish to have no association, that proclaim that digital is inferior because it’s too “clean” and that film is the only true way to do photography. I doubt they would be against 35mm film, but many photographers were against it at the time. Third, there is the cost and logistics. If I end up enjoying film photography – I have to buy film and I have to pay for it to get developed. And I don’t even know where in the world I could get it developed. I guess I could learn to do it on my own, but that’s quite a ways off, if ever.
So, I’ll be going to the Lomography store in NYC in an hour and I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. Last night I decided to go there and see what vibe I get from being there and let that determine whether or not I buy in to Lomography. And, if I hate it – at worst I’m out maybe $100. It’s certainly worth it to see if the hype is more than hype.