Thursday, June 29, 2006

you can't save them all

So there I am, stuck for two-three-four weeks (I forget) without a camera, and because I can't just reach for the camera I find myself looking at things harder. You'll have to look now, the thought goes, you won't be able to look later. Which brings me to the idea that perhaps the camera I keep in a pocket is a way of speeding up my movement through the day; looks nice? Oh, snap it, check it out later. Interesting toy/gizmo/garment? Take a photo, you can make up your mind later and in meantime, you've fixed it harder in your memory -- both actual and auxilary.

With that in mind, I buy a Fuji disposable (with flash), pull one of my Ilford disposables out of the photoshelf and make a mental note to buy a Tesco's Value Camera the next time I'm in Tescos (and forget, of course, what with my memory being impaired). At one time I used nothing but disposables, and after experimentation, decided those three were the best. The Fuji's surprisingly faithful, with excellent colour reproduction. The Ilford is the superior fixed-focus black-and-white option, good for both bright exteriors and indoor portraits. Tesco's Value Camera produces colours so vivid they almost look cross-processed, with a lens so cheap it smears a variable distortion over a good quarter of the image. The toy camera fan's choice.

But disposables don't work for me any more.

I'm too used to looking at things close-up, in the dark, across the road and underneath stuff. I've grown accustomed to gilding my shots with little snippets of ambient sound. And naturally when I get them processed I want CDs, to avoid the faff of scanning, and that's expensive. I'm spending twice as much on the processing as I do on the cameras, and even though I'm processing at Boots, where extra expenditure means free shampoo, it's not consistent with my current "I must stop spending so much money" drive. I'm catching maybe a quarter of the shots I see, and the rest are blowing away, rustling down the street like prematurely withered leaves. You can't save them all, but I'm sure I could manage a better percentage.

I see pictures, ocassionally take them. More often think: no, it won't translate. In the end, it's an oily skin on the brackish liquid in a soaking tea-cup that sends me to the shop, thinking: I must find something to preserve that sickly rainbow. It takes me until 6pm to find a workable camera, so in the end, I miss the rainbow.

I still haven't finished off my Ilford disposable.