It is time to write a few words about the pleasure of using 35mm Pentax cameras. Before I move onto to the reason camera and film are an essential aspect to my creative mind: It is necessary for me to inform the reader I own and have used some exotic film cameras: Hasselblad – Bronica – Leica – Nikon are a few names in my collection. To my eye, the Pentax Takumar lenses extraordinarily resolve the taken image. It is accepted others will have another opinion, and that is fine by me. There is no intention of making a case for better than or superior.
The 35mm Pentax aspect of my WordPress site is an indulgence as is the whole of the site. From the short stories of the early articles to the indulgence of personal and intimate feelings and my obscure observations of life. Surely this is why we all tap the keys? We are leaving an archive of our thoughts, beliefs and prophecies? If this is not the reason, do not waste your time: if the belief is, we are going to make a ‘Kennedy’ or ‘Hitler’ difference we are within an illusion.
My cameras are near my 1958 vintage. I will write of this aspect in other articles. Near 1958? Yes, my favourite lens was made somewhere between 1960 – 2 and my camera’s date of manufacture range from 62 – 73. Many have benefitted from full services (costly), and I intend to have the whole of my collection serviced over the next year or so. This is an investment; I’ll predict fully serviced 35mm metal cameras will demand prices of $1000+ within ten years. How many do I own? It does not matter! I’m content to search for Pentax screw thread cameras in reasonable condition.
An important consideration is the cameras should be used. Owning a film camera and not exploring its possibilities is like owning a Porsche and leaving it in the garage. The film camera can be considered a Zen object: One of constant learning: My interpretation of Zen is every day is anew – the day ahead is full of potential and a new awareness to possibilities in every facet of life. I’m hoping to portray this in my writing about the Pentax camera as an extension to the eye.
The lenses are named Takumar: And this is an artistic reference to the brother of the original owner of the Asahi Pentax Camera Co:
Takumar is the name that Asahi Optical gave to its lenses, notably but not exclusively those for its own SLR cameras. Named after the Japanese-American portrait painter, Takuma Kajiwara (梶原啄磨 Kajiwara Takuma), whose brother Kumao Kajiwara founded Asahi Optical.
I feel this imbibes an essence of Zen in the product. Other cameras have weight and more professional features: The simplicity of Takumar and Pentax cameras ask for a kindness and respect like no other camera. This is not to write the cameras were cheap to buy: an SV camera was the equivalent to $1500 today’s today’s exchange rate. I will write about the cameras and lenses in other articles and I will demonstrate the capabilities of the lenses in the articles.
It is my intention to photograph and comment on a specific subject: and as I write about the subjects I’ll also write about lenses, filters and the process of developing film:
Wet photography is a simple process. Once the photographer learns to load the film on the developing tank spiral and load the tank. The film is processed – the developer realises the frames on the film – a stop bath makes the developer inert, and a fixing bath desensitises the light-sensitive negative to light. A film scanner turns the negative image into a positive digital image. On a basic level, this is all we need to be a photographic artist. The analogue photographer is indeed an artist. We see the image and take our time to record the memory.
The film is a connection: it holds the memory: the roll is at the time of exposure: within the camera: it shares and holds the memory: it is a record of the instant beyond digital: and the photographer has to nurture the negative into life.
Digital is better than analogue, better quality, more comfortable to work with and majestic in its simplicity. On a daily basis, the digital camera is superior in every way. However digital does not hold the fragility of the film and chemical process, wet photography demands nurturing – (wet? yes water is involved in the processes) – The whole of film photography is immersive.
Many years ago I destroyed tens of thousands of negatives: In my mind’s eye, I can see the act of destruction. Upon reflection it was the only way to move into a life which is just beautiful, those images would have held memories of alcoholic insanity. And other nightmares worthy of suicide. Today’s archive will live until my final sleep: there is no reason for anyone to be interested in the way I see life. These negatives will in time be destroyed. There is no concern for this future act, in my final sleep, I’ll be comfortable with the chance my creator gave me to take the images.
I’ll bore people with my thoughts about the Pentax 35mm camera over the next few years. No matter: if one other human, somewhere likes my words, the objective is fulfilled.
For this project, I use one film and developer: Ilford Pan F and Rodinal.