These are my dad’s camera lenses. That is my dad’s camera. They were already creating pictures while I was still a baby. And while I was growing up, they went on all the same vacations as me. I used to curse that camera because we would have to wait while my dad was taking pictures, and I just wanted to keep on walking. “How much time do you need to take a picture of a damn flower” was a thought that crossed my mind on more then one occasion.
In the end however, the ease of use and immediate availability of results that come with the digital age caught up with it, and the Praktica was retired from active duty. Until some YouTube clips about analog photography recently sparked my interest. So much so that I began contemplating looking for a second hand SRL camera and lens to experiment with. That’s when I remembered the good old Praktica Super TL2. Why spend money on a new (old) camera, when I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t have gotten rid of theirs?
So now I’m embarking on an analog experiment with my dad’s old camera. A couple of days ago, I loaded it with a black and white film and started shooting. And I can already tell that – just like when I was a kid – when that camera is out, I’m (quietly, internally) cursing. Only this time, I’m not cursing the camera. Instead, I’m cursing my reliance on modern auto-focus. I found out just how hard it is to focus correctly without any kind of electronic aids. And unlike with a digital camera, there is no way to check if you focused where you wanted to until the film has been developed. It shouldn’t be fun working with that kind of gear! And yet, somehow it is.
It might be nostalgia for my childhood, but I also found out that I love the sounds that this camera makes. The big loud slapping sound of the mirror as you press the shutter button, or the clicking of cogwheels as you advance the film roll to the next exposure. Especially that last one is important. It already happened a couple of times that I had my exposure, focus and framing finally ready, only to have to do them all again since I forgot to pull on that film advance lever first.