My first “serious” camera was a Pentax Spotmatic on perpetual loan from my dad. This was the very camera I learned all about photography on, and it still sits on the bookshelf in my studio. My dad used it for over 30 years—shooting long-exposure shots of the night sky, snowmobile adventures with his buddies, nature, his family, and so much more which can only be unearthed via great ambition and patience of sifting through boxes and boxes of slides.
Nowadays, hardly anyone shoots with this style of camera. In fact, hardly anyone shoots using anything but a smartphone—myself included. Despite my best efforts, it’s just the most convenient way.
One of the greats, Yousuf Karsh once said:
"Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it."
This quote has particular depth if you are familiar with Karsh’s work, and his Hemingway portrait sums it up beautifully:
One more thing about the camera: The Spotmatic was the subject of one of Todd McLellan’s beautiful exploded images. He painstakingly disassembles complex items and organizes the parts in a beautiful way. Here’s the inside of the Spotmatic:
The thing about film is that it requires patience. You have to take time to line up your shot, to get the exposure right, to level your horizon—otherwise it’s a waste of expensive film. Digital affords us the luxury to act quickly, fire off multiple shots, and easily fix things afterwards—yet I can’t help but feel that something is lost.
I saw that London Drugs still offers 1 hour film processing. Maybe I’ll load up the Spotmatic and head out to shoot a roll.