photo © 2009 Kevin Dooley | more info (via: Wylio)Armed with considerable theoretical knowledge gleaned from trudging through almost every kind of lomography site and group, I wanted to start right away. The only problem was how. I do know there is a hotshot plastic box camera right here at home that for some reason people had over the years forgotten to throw out or given generously away to the raddiwala (as a friend had done; I did ask around). All hope while not being completely lost was not immediately at hand either. I considered pattering around old stuff but was deterred by the associated height hazards (i.e. stuff that might fall from a height), exploration hazards (i.e. reveal new bugs), or health hazards (i.e. make me go into sneezing fits). There was no other go: I had to find one in the shops.
The friendly neighbourhood camera store was one of the many Kodak processing units that people walk into for passport photos and wedding albums. After a week spent marinating on the idea, I walked into one and asked for a film camera 35 mm fixed focus automatic box camera also called a toy camera. I realised I didn’t need all those terms in any order; there were only two film cameras available. A Kodak EC-70 and another one, whose name I promptly forgot because it looked suspiciously like the one that is stashed at home. The man with a pock-marked face looked at me as if I asked for the latest model of a live dodo on roller blades. I smiled inside. Analogue, I realised, before it becomes the future has to become the past.
Pockmark advised me sincerely to consider my camera purchase. “Why don’t you try a digital camera? Yevrrybuddy is buying diggital nowadays.” A big flashy grin followed as a means of encouragement. It would have discouraged me had I not already decided on the camera.
I smiled visibly. “I have a digital camera. I want a film camera now.”
Pockmark’s interior monologue was visible on his face: “This is why women should not drive or use cameras! What do they know? I am sure she is choosing a cheaper option as usual. I am sure she has no digital camera. Chumma!* Eating into my profits. Who cares for film nowadays?”
I persisted in the face of such resistance. For a princely sum for Rs.299, I was the owner of a plastic box camera. I felt buoyant, like a real lomographer, like a photographer with a special interest. Okay, I am getting carried away. Let’s just say I felt buoyant and ready to begin a big adventure. A big adventure with a small camera.
* ‘Chumma’ in Tamil means ‘simply’, ‘just like that’, or ‘for no reason’. Not to be confused with the Hindi ‘chumma’, which means ‘kiss’.
PS: The picture used for this post is a good example of what is considered a lomographic picture.