The best way to slow down and enjoy life is through art. At least in my 58 mm view.
In this fast paced world how often do we hear, “slow down,” “enjoy the process,” or “embrace the journey”?
Embracing the journey involves savoring the moments in between. We often times lose sight of this. (Hence the catalyst to remove Facebook from my iPhone. I am in pursuit of living in the moment, and enjoying a fulfilled life.)
This weekend I inherited my dad’s Minolta SRT camera. For those who aren’t up to (shutter) speed on photography jargon, this is an old school camera (think dark room and developing the film. Sexy right?).
My dad bought this camera when he was in the army. Vietnam. I know this because when you unscrew the lens it reads, “JWJ Jr.” with a series of numbers.
“What’s that?” I inquired. “That’s my social security number.”
I gasped. We are living in an identity fearful time, surrounded by HIPAA, PHI, encrypted emails on top of password encrypted censuses. When anyone mentions the word “Social Security Number,” I cringe. It’s that sacred number no one but you knows, and if anyone does know it, he’s probably an Indian wire tapping your bank account right now.
“I engraved my name and social security number in case anyone stole it in the army.” Wow, war really is brutal.
“Maybe I’ll put my initials on it with my social security number too….”
Who would have thought I would ever utter those words? It’s not like I’m carving “KJ + HJ” into a tree. It’s like permanently branding myself into a family heirloom.
“This could be my only legacy,” I thought. How very Lion King-esque of me, I apologize.
As we sipped our coffee, he continued to instruct me on this cherished treasure. “Here is the f-stop, here is the shutter and here is how you take the lenses on and off.”
A true lost art. The equipment no longer comes with an owner’s manual. And people have forgotten the complexity, all the intricacies that went into the first cameras. If it weren’t for photography, we wouldn’t have T.V. or scroll through pictures on our phones for that matter.
I am proud to hold this beautiful, or dare I say “vintage,” camera. She is heavy like a small brick, yet fragile like a baby.
It is so complex yet simple to the eye. She is not as sleek or sexy as our iPhones, but the Minolta is a god because in her camera lineage, she was one of the original rulers. (Simba knows. He just looked into the sky, and there his family was.)
I held tight to my new camera and walked about Corona del Mar. I wanted to capture “Home.”
The palm trees, the quaint foot bridge, the iconic views of Newport Harbor. I have done so much growing up here. I have visited since I was 14 years old. My dad would crank up U2 in his beamer with the ocean breeze howling through the sunroof, “Isn’t this cool!?”
Of course it was cool. It was beyond cool. It was unobtainable, over the top, paradise, a city with so many beautiful people and lots of money.
I never would have dreamed of a life so beautiful, or that a place like this even existed in the world. (Or at least in the United States.) We truly are blessed to live in this paradise.
And so I needed to capture it. Those amazing moments and landscapes in a picture.
The first day of my photo shoot, I did just that. I had the perfect lightening, the sun kissed each palm, creating the perfect contrast and light. And the water sparkled all the way to the horizon. It was one of those Southern California days that we yearn for on our days off.
After I wrapped up two hours of bliss, I was reluctant to roll the film and pop out the cartridge. So I waited for my dad to do it for me like a little kid.
“Are you sure it’s rolled?” I asked. Mufasa, I mean my dad, assured me it was okay. “Are you sure? Because I’m worried we might expose the film.”
“It’s fine,” he insisted.
And just like that, we popped open the back… and all 36 exposures became just that. Exposed and compromised.
Gone forever. All those moments lost. And in a way, the memory of the experience went with it too. No one will remember those moments, except the images I’ve catalogued in my own memory.
Couple that with the sting of thinking I can’t call an IT person or ask him to find my deleted photos. (At this point my iPhone was shaking its head at me like, “I told you so. You wanted great grandad when you could have had the new digital like me. There is no risk of exposing film, and before you delete a picture I always ask, “are you sure you want to delete this photo?”).
Fortunately my dad was kind. I’m not sure if he knows how upset I was over the loss, or if he felt it was only three dollars, and it’s not that big of a deal.
I was determined to have a round two though. Once I pulled myself out of mourning, I snapped into gear, “I’ll have morning light tomorrow, not so many people will be out, and I know how to use the camera now!”
The excitement woke me up early, and I was on my way to Corona del Mar again.
As I pulled into town, I was welcomed by thick fog. The marine layer! (This is the scene where Simba travels beyond Pride Rock and enters into darkness and hyenas).
The mood was eerie. Halloween-like. It did not match my mood or expectation of my 90210 photo shoot (92625 for you non-Shannon Doherty fans).
I adjusted my mood accordingly.
Think calm, think serene, mysterious even. I played with new angles, new light. The harbor view turned into white nothingness, and instead I was enjoying the beauty of the foliage facing away from the ocean.
I savored a new perspective. A new beauty I had never appreciated before.
We are fixated on the palm trees and ocean view. All of a sudden, I was admiring the metal look-out binoculars, the lines in the sidewalk and the architecture and landscaping of the homes around me.
Everyone looked at me like I was crazy, “It’s a white out of fog, lady, that is spitting cool mist.” What could I possibly be taking pictures for?
Below are several samples I took from my camera. Well, my iPhone camera. Yes, he prevailed today. Although I did capture some on my new beaut too. (I need to savor all 36 exposures after all.)
Until next time, when I enjoy another experience with my Minolta SRT. I can’t wait to see what surprises she has in store for me next!
Published by Katie Jones