A photo essay on Africa done exclusively on 35mm film.
Pretty much self-explanatory.
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At my age, I sit in the era in between the old and the new, where digital seems to be taking over everything. I have four brothers who are younger than I am and I doubt half of them ever had the experience of handling film; that’s how technology takes over an era. I consider myself fortunate that there are still many functioning film cameras in the market, and that there are still many professionals who prefer the analogue format.
When I turned 12, my mom made getting me a camera a rite of passage. She used to take part in the photography club in her secondary school so now you know where I get my inclinations from.
It was the friendly face of a middle-aged man who served us. He was the owner the corner unit of the row of shophouses at Holland Village. I distinctively remembered my mom saying, “Yashica is a pretty reliable brand.” A bit more bantering and a few moments later I was the eager-faced proud new owner of a camera. Digital cameras weren’t even in existence then, at least not in the consumer market, so what I got was an automatic “point-and-shoot” film camera.
Of course, since the entrance of the digital format, that feels like nearly a lifetime ago. That camera saw its fair share of family outings, camps, candid shots and pets. Nothing impressive.
I decided I was brave enough to move into a format that was more demanding technically about a year and a half ago. I figured that I had shot enough on the digital format and needed a new challenge, and was hoping that what little experience I had with my DSLR would leave me with as little errors as possible. I had loads of help and advice, mainly from Long, a friend I connected with a long time back who shoots beautifully on film. Did I mention he writes as beautifully too? See for yourself.
What resulted was opening up another dynamic of my relationship with photography, and that changed my perspective yet again. Because that’s what the bulk of photography is about – perspective. It is freer, more relaxed, and the expectations that I used to bog myself down with were gone. I could look through the lens without the pressure of pre-empting the result, and instead get excited whenever I send in the finished rolls for developing. The best part is that there is still so much to learn, it isn’t about pushing buttons anymore, it is about fine tuning skills.
And in the process of learning, I find myself producing images that give me a different kind of joy, and a certain sense of quiet. It has come to the stage where if I do not have a job to shoot, I’d prefer to carry my analogue cameras around for casual shooting.
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