Today's photos

Took a fair few earlier today. Not postable (at least yet), as taken with my Nikon F3, a wonderfully heavy, sturdy and simple film camera, the star of its day in the 80's (see www.nikonf3.com). If I went on a round-the-world trip with rough patches and could take only a single camera, this would be it, along with the equally "old" and splendid Nikkor-s auto 50mm and 35mm lenses - and nothing else.

Why ramble on about gear while railing against it on my home and "about me" pages ?

Truth is, this isn't so much about tech and specs, but more about a beautiful tool (loaded with specs or pared down to a minimum, depending on your taste) that inspires your craft.

Should it ? After all, a photo is quite an abstract thing, a picture on a sheet of paper - or a screen, or any flat surface, an assemblage of colour (or black and white) dots. If you know what you're doing, you could take an equally great one using the latest professional DSLR, or a smartphone, or a LOMO (fim camera, cheap, plastic, fun).

Just as an inspired violinist wouldn't really need a Stradivarius to play with great beauty and insight. There's a key scene in the French movie Tous les Matins du Monde where Sainte-Colombe tells his student, Marin Marais, just that - a scene that, if I remember well, revolved around the destruction of an instrument. On the other hand, there's a WWII movie I remember absolutely nothing about except the one scene where police break into the shop of a Jewish violin maker and in a mere instant brutally destroy all the violins that had been so carefully and lovingly built and hung around the room. The scene burnt into me for its depiction of the simultaneous shattering, in a matter of seconds, of the old violin maker's life and soul, and of civilisation (music, art), infinitely precious yet fragile and separating us from raw brutality.

Anyway, one (admittedly minor) point made by this scene is that tools can be made into beautiful things infused with meaning, by both their makers and users, who often derive inspiration from them.

Still, this is quite different from GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), leading one to accumulate gear between the eye (or the hand, depending on the craft involved) and the object of the craft, simply to give an illusion of control or craftsmanship.

There, I do believe I conviced myself that I can both like my Nikon F3 (in fact, I own 2, as well as an F2, so the cat's out of the bag) AND stick to my mission statement.

And so, good night !

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All photographs on this site copyright of Antoine Boesch