In the last few spring and pre-summer-solstice months my soul has been sated by serendipitous meetings with sanguine photographers, who were gracious and willing to spend time sharing their set-ups with me. I wish to tell a tale of one of these meetings to you.
Cosmic 35: In the glory of super-saturated and definitely not skin friendly ‘Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Color’ I share with you one of these friendly souls. I had just caught the quaint and wonderful incline tram ride to Scarborough Beach and saw something special in the light and the shore. I was view-finder crabbing along a sea wall and I nearly walked into the lovely woman pictured.
After congenial innocent apologies (as is the English custom!) I noticed her camera. I say I noticed her camera. I nearly jumped clean out of my jandals! A 60’s vintage 35mm rangefinder?! I felt an instant appreciation for this woman. Alas, I was not carrying my Baldamatic, but my OM1 - so I had to try and convince her I was a rangefinder freak too… She talked me though her Cosmic 35, which was actually an English badged russian Lomo Smena 8. I realised there was no light metering, so I asked her what she did with exposure, I was floored by her response: "I use the guide on the box". I looked slightly baffled and she produced a dog eared empty film box and pressed the exposure guide to my face. Sunny, cloudy, dim, inside, done. The simplicity of her system left me with a broad smile as I jogged down the beach to catch up my family. The light stayed in the realms of stunning and I got a photo worth showing.
Happenstance meetings like this make me a happy-little-shutterbug. So I was only too pleased to return some time and love to the photography community when I was in Brighton recently. My very-good-lady-wife and I were sauntering through the excellent North Laine Market Stalls when I spotted a freshly purchased vintage camera coming my way in the hands of an exuberant film neophyte!
I immediately went for my usual practise of a 1x10247 word per minute interrogation. I ascertained that I had an American student from DSLR land who had seen the light. I was only to happy too load a surplus film into his Zeiss Ikon. I explained his apertture and shutter settings, he had a fair idea of light and exposure values from his DSLR, I sent him on his way, like a proud quasi parent. "Shoot everything" I called over his shoulder as he left.
I seriously hope that his first film was as rewarding as mine.