I have a friend who refers to Creole and Cajun cooking as “the food of making do.” I don’t think the thought is original to him, but it is correct. Most cuisine of the south is that way. Recipes that consist of what you can easily get, and how you can make it palatable.
So are my camera choices.
I always end up with cameras that are, shall we say, less than stellar options. Well, to be fair, not always, but pretty often. I do have the occasional bit of kit that’s spot on, like my beloved F3. But the other SLRs I had were not really all that good: Zenits, Practicas, off brands. A lot of cameras that didn’t function very well and I spent time having to work around their foibles and malfunctions.
I can always achieve the results I was gunning for when I use these cameras. But they don’t make it simple to do. So picking up my F3 is like enabling “easy mode” when shooting. I know the meter is spot on. The lens will not flare. And, when I advance the film, it will have proper spacing without me doing any sort of interpretive dance.
I’ve always said “it’s the eye and not the camera” and such in the past. And that, I’ve found, is true. I’ve taken some lousy shots with a Hassy, and great shots with a Kiev. But I’m starting to think it would be nice to have gear that just worked just like it’s supposed to, every single time.
What’s this mean?
I suppose it’s time to contemplate ridding myself of the bits of kit I have that are difficult to use and replacing them with gear that’s less frustrating. Now, there will always be exceptions to this, I’m sure. I love the look I get with my Zorki. It reminds me of the work you could get out of a Leica in the 1950s, which was the look I fell in love with. I prefer the lens I use on my Kiev to the ones I’ve tried on a Hassy, even though that makes me odd. And there are some plastic cameras I’ll keep. But those are supposed to be crappy, that’s their charm.
I’ll probably move up to a Bessaflex TM to use my M42 glass on, for instance. A newer camera with more life left in it than the typical ones I’ve been using. I’ll probably upgrade my medium format options as well, but that will require a lot of research.
It will be nice to spend my time doing better than just making do.