It is strange to think in a world of digital cameras and iPods that there would be any fun in the old analogue formats of days gone by. But you’d be wrong.
My analogue journey started a few years ago when I decided to invest in a vinyl turntable. At the time I knew nothing about records at all – I just thought they looked cool and was amazed how they worked. My dad bought me a semi-decent turntable for my birthday, and with the rest of my birthday money I did what has now become one of my favourite past times: record shopping.
After some careful deliberation, I ended up buying a Daft Punk record, some Radiohead and Mumford and Sons. I quickly went home excited to listen to them, but on getting there I did something which I thought I would never do. I had to ask my mum for help with technology. My mum giggled at me when I asked about the speed of the records and explained to me the difference between LP’s and Singles and how they have to be rotated at different speeds.
The moment the stylus touched the record, I was hooked. I think the beauty of a record is how unique and delicate they are. For example, I know on my daft punk record if you don’t weight the stylus well the track jumps a little. When I told my friend this he didn’t understand, and told me I could get the whole album on iTunes for £7.99, but that’s not the point. The love for the formats comes from their imperfections.
I love photography and have had a DSLR for a while now, but I wanted to try something different. One rainy morning, I decided to look on eBay at old Polaroid cameras to see if they still sold them. It turned out they did, and a company called the Impossible Project was still developing film for all types of Polaroid cameras. I placed my bid and waited for the auction to end. Low and behold, I was the proud owner of Polaroid spectra two.
Polaroid’s are so fun – take your camera to a party or anywhere and it’s a great talking point, people are always queuing up to get snapped. It’s also a great format to start out photography-wise, cutting down on development and processing costs.
My love of Lo-Fi plastic cameras continued when I discovered the Lomographic society. The society is dedicated to old Lo-Fi cameras, where the imperfections and limitations of the cameras can make some amazing pictures. These are a bit of a step up from the Polaroid, as they require you to handle 120 medium format film which is very sensitive to light (which I found out after wrecking many films by sitting near a window). But once you get past the technical hurdle of loading and handling the film, the joys of having this old style camera are so fun.
I think not knowing if a picture going to turn out great or not really adds to the excitement. In a day an age where gadgets can do everything perfectly for us, sometimes it’s nice to let those imperfections through. Walk on the analogue side.