G.A.S, red dot and Murphy’s law

The excitement of landing my current job and not feeling like a bum after graduation had worn off. The job became just that, a job. How to deal with a sentence of slavery in society.  At times I sit at my desk wondering what the hell am I doing.  Sadly I think consumerism is given as a faux antidote to keep the wheel spinning. A fleeting moment, until the next product or model is released, planned obsolence. A mere cycle, work, buy, work, buy. Photography became reserved for weekends only and that is if  I was lucky. I wanted to shoot during my lunchtimes but lugging a big dslr  wasn’t really something I wanted to do. Before I knew it I had come down with a syndrome….. the Gear Acquisition kind, a type of consumerist disease which photography enthusiasts and professionals are easily susceptible to. First I began thinking how a x100s would be great. It’s small, compact an would be perfect for those lunchtime walkabouts plus they fixed the slow autofocus problem of its predecessor. Or maybe even the OMD, its weatherproof plus its cheaper now since the newer EM10 is out. I came across OMD E-M10 posters around the bus stops near work and they state  “Olympus cares about your health and happiness”.oly caresOh what about the new sony A7rs. Full freaking frame! :O Most free days became spent just researching rather than shooting. Going in an endless loop of this camera vs that camera vs that camera. But in the end it became all about that red dot. That damn red dot. Couldn’t get away from it.  A camera that “should” last me a life time. Why get something in the meantime when I really wanted that other something and could get if I only waited. I calculated that it will take me around 1.5 years before its acquisition along with a second hand 35mm Cron. A long wait, but I see it as practicing a form of delayed gratification albeit expensive. In the very long mean time why not start shooting film again to pass the wait. And so 6 weeks ago I sent over my first B&W film to get developed and scanned interstate as it was cheaper than my local lab. A way to make the wait for the red dot bearable.  Something to look forward at the end working week. Christmas on the mail 😀 Enter Murphy’s Law. Sending film over by mail is pretty scary. If it get’s lost that’s it. Gone forever. It had already been two weeks since my film had been sent over and I started to get worried. I called the lab to check if they sent it already but by some funny happening, my film arrived in the lab’s mail as I spoke to one of the workers. He informs me the easter long weekend must have delayed all the mails. He guaranteed he would start the machine and process it as soon as soon as possible. What a relief it was. As long as they had my roll and they had not sent it back getting lost on the way. I expected it to come the following week but it did not. Decided to call the lab again to inquire and was told they had given it to their dispatch department a week ago. I was told they would ring me back to give me the tracking number for my package. Three days have gone by and still no phone call. I rang again to inquire, and was told once again I would get a call back. But nothing. The following week I ring again but this time I was given the tracking number. I go online and there was no data available for the package. At this point I realised they had just sent my package on that day. Three days later it came. I had been tracking it from work and could not wait to get home and finally see my images. I also get an email from Amazon saying I will be receiving Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb on Street Photography and the Poetic Image book in three weeks time. I thought yes things are finally looking up. I get home and BAM I also get Alex Webb’s Suffering of light. What a book! Insanely good photographs. Light, Shadow, colours, complex layers simply brilliant. I couldn’t believe my luck. The book was suppose to come in July. It finally came down to the film I had been waiting for. I check the film and could see the images came out fine. This roll was actually before my Philippines trip. Shots I took around Sydney Central Station. I should really label the rolls so I know what they are. Now it was time to check the scans on the CD. I inserted it into the Imac and Murphy’s law would once again hold true. It was BLANK! I got a blank cd. Waited more than a month, for a blank CD. No jpgs, no photos, just nothing. Luckily they agreed for a full reimbursement. They asked if I wanted to send it back so that they could scan it for me, to which I said No Thank you. I ended up resorting to DIY low tech scanning of my negatives using an Ipad and a flat bed scanner.  You just need to invert the scanned jpg in photoshop. The results are pretty bad as there are lines visible from the ipad screen. Not sure how to get rid of them but it will do for now as I will be getting a Plustek OpticFilm scanner next month. Without further ado here are some of the scanned images.TeddyI dont really get why truckies do this. I first encountered it in Toy Story 3.Central StairsCentral SkylightSkylight at Central Station in SydneyScan1Scan2


8 thoughts on “G.A.S, red dot and Murphy’s law”

  1. Now really, both text and photos were worth the wait! I know how you felt, I believe every photographer had a similar story to tell (like mine when I left a IR film with the instruction not to open until getting in a dark room, only to see it getting opened in front of my eyes by the clerk… 36 photos and 1 week work down the memory drain…) And that is when I decided that I’d rather try to develop all kinds of B&W films on my own. I would have the pleasure to destroy them myself. 😉 And then buying a decent scanner (either film scanner or flatbed with a film tray) would allow me to be free of them people that treat your work just like another job.
    As I have told you, I am not a tech man. I buy a new camera, only when my old one breaks down. And even then I usually go for a model or two back, in order to afford it. All this changing of cameras, lenses, etc, just to catch the technology speeding train, won’t make you a better photographer. With all these advances and gadgets and still those great photographers of the 20th century that shoot without autofocus, light meters multi ISO, super zoom lenses, but just a dark box with a nice lens and a standard film and 5-6 speeds, created better photos than today.
    Maybe it is the plethora of photographers and photos, or maybe the instant uploading that reduces their power, or maybe our society has become so typified with no diversity, or or or… Maybe the time we spend on technology instead of people and relations is what changed the photos. Is what changed us and we have become less human.
    Maybe it is too early to make a change in your life (job included), but if you have no other obligations to hold you down, make the leap, you will feel better. It is only time we have.

    1. Your experience must have been traumatising! Seeing it done infront of your eyes is unbelievable. I would not know what to do!

      I really would love to start developing. Once I get a scanner then the chemicals will most likely follow. However I am finding I prefer colour these days. Regarding technology I completely agree. Surrounded by tech reviews, new camera releases each year, and honestly just wanting to look forward to something new to shoot is lending me to save up for the red dot. Plus since working, the daily grind had turned me into a zombie. Too tired to ponder, think, read, just wanting to consume. The glamour of the creativeness of architecture in reality is just another office, with corporate clients. Serving those with the means…

      Photography wise I feel I am lost. Precisely because of the reasons you have pointed out. Today’s saturation of images and its instant consumption. Photography is becoming like fast food. The instant nature of online photo sharing websites makes me not think about the quality of the image or use that avenue to get some sort of quick feedback/approval for the work. Obtaining critique for growth is hard to come by. I have always admired HCB and recently got exposed to Alex Webb. I place the bar up to them, the type of work I would like to produce. A great kick in the butt to let me know how hard photography (street) is and where one is placed in the spectrum. I went out shooting street with two rolls of Agfa Vista 400 today and have no idea how anything turned out. Accepting 99% of my shots will probably be garbage is hard to swallow. I am not confident about the leap, and not sure if will ever take the plunge. But i am certain if money did not make the world go around, I would take photos all day. Thank you Vasilis for reading what had happened to me and for creating another wonderful dialogue. Do you think If we slow down, the world just leave us behind?

      1. Do you know Tuxedomoon’s -Desire? (From the fantastic record. Don’t think, go buy…)
        I think it deals with all the issues you set above, both as human, as photographer and as consumer.

        I think that desire is the driving force behind us. Consumption is a distorted Desire. And the quick gratification of a desire has in fact a negative impact. If the philosophy of life we have as citizens of the “western” civilization, is limited to consumerism as the only desire (and you can include food, entertainment, sex, etc into consumerism) and the point we enter the realm of desire is the same as the point of fulfillment, we can never be satisfied. It is a vicious circle made up by the companies in order to sell, sell, sell.
        I photograph only for me. By carrying my camera 24-7, all weather, in search of the elusive moment, it has become my life. I control the pace of the clicks, but unfortunately I rarely have time to sit and watch my photos. I have hundreds of films that I have never scanned, and can’t even remember what’s on. I have thousands of digital photos, that I have barely seen once. Junk or masterpieces? Who cares. I am lucky to have a few friends to share with. But getting to Webb’s and HCB’s level you have to be absolutely devoted (mind-money and time), gifted and last but not least, lucky. The fact that some people know how to control recognition when it comes and keep working with high standards, is itself a very difficult thing.
        So slow down, because you are part of the world and at the same time a world on your own. By projecting your world out, you somehow alter the world we all live in. Maybe if more people thought of slowing down a bit, would make the world a better place to live and create.

  2. Great photos and I can’t wait to see more.
    I started off scanning in my photos at work using the photocopier (scan to email) but then as I shot more and more this was very time consuming so I invested in a negative scanner (Veho VFS-008 from Amazon) and it’s fantastic – the images look SO much better and it’s loads easier too.
    Have fun with it 🙂

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