I recently started scanning many of my old negatives (old, as in within the last five years), and after scanning this one of a car show, I was left quite impressed. And what did I take this picture with? Was it a Leica, or a Hasselblad? Nope. It was taken with an Argus C3 on Fuji Superia 100. So it’s a camera from the 1940’s, and the film was basically the cheapest stuff at Walmart that I could find. Actually, I never understood why 100 iso was cheaper; it’s so much sharper than the fast stuff. If you look at the picture carefully, you can see all the little faces in the background. This is not only testament to the quality of the film, but the quality of a lens made nearly seventy years ago.
Now, before I get nostalgic, I was never alive back in the 40’s, and I’m glad. I do like old things, but I don’t want any equipment to get in the way of the image. The image should stand alone; it should not be influenced by the tool in the hand of the photographer. The Argus C3 is so good – to me, at least – because of its simplicity. Everything you need is there, and all the functions are dependable.
Anyway, I just was remembering the days when I would just shoot pictures of anything with that old brick. Most of my pictures were junk, but the process was fun. These days, I’ve become a lot more selective about the images that I attempt to make. Perhaps the junk became plentiful enough that I realized that the process doesn’t matter if there’s not something rewarding at the end. Currently, I use mostly SLR’s for the framing control and precise focusing. In medium format, I now use my GW690III instead of my old No.1 Pocket Kodak (yes, really…). And while the tools have become more refined over the years, I like to think that I’m the same person behind the camera. I make just as many stinky pictures as I used to, but luckily, more of those are just made in my head, and I tend to discard them before I make the mistake of pressing the shutter.