Your challenge is to find that around you, which is broken, yet still beautiful. Of course, you can take broken into many directions, such as physical or emotional, or a sequence… You will figure out exactly what strikes a chord with you! Have fun with this!
When I was a kid growing up in the St. Vincent & the Grenadines1 my dad would take us on road trip out to the countryside. Note, this was on an island that is 345 kilometre 2 (133 miles2). A road trip isn’t more than a 10-15 minutes drive. But as a kid, it felt as though we were travelling for hours over great distances.
Sometimes, these trips were to the top of a part of the volcanic ridge that bisects the island. Other times it was to a previous unexplored beach along the coastline. For me, it always felt like an adventure.
My father often brought his camera, an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II film camera. The Spotmatic was introduced by Asahi in 1964 and was the first camera to sell well with Through-the-Lens light metering many ways; my dad is the first photographer I knew personally. My dad was an aloof father when I was a kid, so I can’t say he taught me much about photography but knowing he took photos of us during our mini adventures is a pleasant memory.
The camera in this photo is the same Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II, and Asahi SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens Dad used when I was a kid. My mom found it a few years ago while cleaning out for a move. I was excited to have it. But it’s broken. I replaced the battery but stripped the screws on the battery compartment in the process. The shutter works but the latch that keeps the back door closed doesn’t work. Mould grew over the pentaprism making it difficult to focus the camera. The camera is broken.
I love the controls on this camera. Want to change the ISO? Turn a dial. Want to set the aperture? Turn the dial on the lens. From my search on Google, the Fuji X series cameras are the only modern digital cameras that operate this way.
I had very little time for the Tuesday Photo Challenge this week. During the week I had researched several ideas hoping I would find the time to explore one of two of them. However, between the studio still life class on Saturday morning, my niece’s birthday party on Saturday night, and Sunday brunch with a former colleague and his wife, I had just a few hours to get something done.
While doing my research on the word mirror, I found inspiration in an image by Flickr user f/otographer. This particular user has taken an image of himself in the mirror through the front element of one of his lenses.
I decided to try this myself, but it was not an easy task. The only mirrors we have in our home are in our bathroom. That was my studio. The lens is an Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 lens that I detached from my father’s Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II. I held the glass out in front of my Nikon and attempted to find a combination of focal lengths and apertures that allowed the image in the mirror to be in focus. It was challenging to get the focus point of the Takumar just right. I got a few good shots, but the image was slightly off centre.
It was time to leave to meet my colleague for brunch, so I packed the camera, and we drove into Princeton. We parked close to the restaurant. We shivered under our coats as a cold, dank drizzle added and the gloomy grey skies enhanced the feeling of the miserable day. As we walked past the outside sidewalk of the restaurant, I stopped to take a photo of this woman sitting inside. She was drinking a cup of coffee while reading. Once inside I realised that there were a lot of seats in the interior of the restaurant. I think she chose the window set intentionally. I was fascinated by this woman and wanted to take more photos. I just loved the way she looked sitting there lost in whatever she was reading. But my family seemed embarrassed by my use of the camera, so I put it away.
It was not until I got home and looked through the images that I realised that I had taken my “mirror” shot. I don’t know what prompted me to snap that photo. But I think that after consciously trying so hard to capture “mirror” my subconscious had seen the image and just “knew”.
The Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography. This week’s theme is mirror.
My affinity for analog watches doesn’t mean I dislike the concept of the smartwatch. My iPhone is one of the most incredible items I have ever owned and used. But my experience with it has also taught me that the promise of convenient notifications and relevant information is almost always paired with the reality of constant distractions, tugs for attention, and perhaps even an addiction to the “just checks”.
When I look down at my watch I know exactly what it will show me: the time.Shawn Blanc
This article reminds me how I feel about my Dad’s old Asahi Pentax Spotmatix SP II. The camera is almost 40 years old. The lens and pentaprism have some mould and the battery cover screw is fused to the body from repeated use. It no longer works. So why do I still have it?
The camera reminds me of a time when life was more carefree. I have vague but fond memories of my Dad taking us to the beach and snapping photos with that Pentax. When I pick it up and feel and see its worn knobs and dials all those memories come rushing back.
My Nikon D5100 and even my iPhone have more features than this old Pentax but they lack a soul. When I see my Dad’s Pentax I see my Dad.