A Man And A New “Old” Camera
I love cameras. Every time I see an interesting new camera out there I want to play with it. There must be at least a dozen out there now that I’d like to have within my grasp. All digital. Ranging from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. All DSLRs. I say that specifically because there isn’t a single interesting video camera that I’d care to bother with. Perhaps when the fabled RED Scarlett makes an appearance, but Naked Filmmaking will have to become a best seller for that to even remotely happen.
I love pictures and taking photos.
(NOTE: I don’t call them “photographs.” Too many photographers, professional and amateur, make a point of calling their work “photographs” because it makes them sound more serious and should be taken “seriously.” As a person who takes photography, whether it’s a still photo or a motion picture shot or who makes their living shooting TV news, I know that you shoot a lot of pictures and footage because you never really know what’s going to turn out to be good until later when you look at it. And even then it’s more often by accident rather than planning. That’s why it’s called a “controlled accident” — because you’re shooting in a specific style or method in the hope that something may turn out that you can use and keep.)
At KCRA we are making an even deeper transition into the next phase of TV news gathering for on-air and on-the-web journalism that our ownership corporation Hearst Broadcasting is calling “NextGen” for Next Generation. To that degree we have all been issued the new Verizon Android G3 smart phones. I’ve wanted an iPhone for the longest time (and still do!) but I must say having a smart phone that I’m not paying for is one of the best professional perks I’ve ever been given.
One of the free apps I’ve downloaded is the Retro Camera, which these pictures were taken with. It takes photos and gives them the appearance of having been taken with a Polaroid or Lomo (a Russian-made plastic camera) or some other antique snapshot camera from a by-gone era.
There are also plenty of these for the iPhone like Plastic Bullet. But, like I said, I don’t have an iPhone and I’m not paying for the Android.
I love looking at old photos that are just personal snapshots. They are just intended to capture a personal moment or memory — your kids, your cat(s) or (in the case of Bonnie and I) dog(s). They are never intended for anybody else to see and have no immediate value. However, over time they become priceless — both emotionally and to history, if the photos survive. Could you imagine how much less a documentary about the real Bonnie and Clyde would be without the roll of 120 film that they shot of themselves with a drugstore box camera would be? Or a Ken Burns film about anything?
Snap shots record a fraction of a moment in time and preserve what the people or places in them looked like and how they dressed and lived at a particular moment in the past. They become history.
I honestly find it almost impossible to look at any childhood snapshots from my boyhood without dredging up mounds of emotion and longing for my parents. Even writing his here about them makes by eyes start to well up.
All that said, I’m posting these “snaps” — a term my mother always referred to my pictures when I was learning to be a professional with a camera and to keep my head and ego in line — that I took yesterday while working with KCRA reporter Tom Duhain.
I love the art of the sky and the wonder of clouds. I first discovered the “nature’s art” of clouds in my first feature film Year, which anyone who’s seen it will understand. (And anyone who hasn’t seen it should run — not walk – to my Amazon Store page and buy the DVD or rent or purchase the download. For the beauty of the time passage cloud shots and Erik Wollo’s spectacular music if nothing else.)
The winter skies over the California Central Valley. The high cirrus clouds and the way the sun shows through them. I look at how these shots came out and I can’t help but think of The Last Picture Show, a black and white film from the 70s that is also one of the best American films that I have every seen — and which can be ordered from my Amazon Store. These snaps make me think of images from the 50s and 60.
I think of these more as “snap art” than snap shots. Hope you can enjoy them.