A Blind Photographer: Experience on approaching analog photography

Taken with Nikon FM using Fuji Industrial 100 film

Disclaimer: the term “Blind” does not literally mean I’m blind, It’s just some kind of a metaphor (?).

In this crazy digital era, I presume everyone is a photographer. They carry around smartphones with the attached little camera everywhere. When they want to take pictures of a scene, well, it’s just one snap from the pocket away. Photography is everyone’s skill now, I reckon.

Me, likewise, I use my smartphone mostly to snap random scenes which happen to my life. The magical thing is it just takes like half of a second for me to see the result and delete if I hate them as well as do some editing if I’m pleased.

To educate us here, let’s jog memories on the history of camera, hope you’re not yawning up to this sentence. Before this digital smartphone thingy is happening and used as a tool for photography, there’s digital camera (well it’s still being used now and the advanced digital cameras are produced even more). When I tracked back the camera history of my parents, it was all begin with analog camera. I believe it was a major invention.

To tell you my opinion of analog camera, I consider this thing has its own charms and it really gets through me. Many people possibly agree about my thought tho as I found so many people are still using it now as well.

Here, I’m gonna force you to read about my so-called experience of learning and using analog camera (just like when you listen to your granpa’s story about war)

My journey as a blind analog photographer (an amateur one)

My first encounter to analog photography was in my third year of college. I was bored with my activity as a good student, doing research and writing report, that loop of activity ugh hell. I stumbled upon some people Instagram photos which were really mesmerizing and I thought those were edited using filters. Then I found out that it was taken using analog camera.

Since then, I was curious and excited to find out about the analog camera. I found that everything is complex about this thing. There are methods and technical ways to use it, and theory about exposures, ISO, aperture and also there are so many different type of films. I can sense why the results were felt original, there are so much thought put to them.

I decided to buy my first analog camera, which was Nikon FM with a good lens. It’s a manual analog camera and it’s not being produced anymore by Nikon. I was going to all manual and I regret that, actually. I was completely starstruck at first then having no idea after. Lol.

I then started to learn every bit of the technique to capture a scene, eschewing failure for my entire roll. I failed eventually. I wasted 2 rolls and got no photos at all. But that didn’t stop me either to dig in to this thing more. Until now, I’m still learning how to control it.

This is one of my failed photos ( too much grain, too much exposures). I was using Venus 800 and this was the first time I use film with high ISO since I’m used to low ISO (100, 200 or 400). I screwed up this entire roll.

Analog camera turn me to a whole different person (in terms of taking picture).

Through ups and downs using this camera, trying to figure out which techniques to use, choosing the right film rolls according to which photos I want to take, I realize there’s something change in me. I could possibly say that analog camera change my personality (It’s overstatement actually hehe). I see things differently when I want to take pictures. I constantly delineate how the photos would turn out in different angle, object, light, films and etc.

When I use analog camera, I feel like a physician. I need to calculate the light intensity, which aperture I should use, how much exposure I want and give it the rest to god after I click the shutter release button. Every photos that I take with analog camera, I think. That is something that I’ve never done when I use my phone. As I’m using 35mm film, I only have 24 or 36 photos to take for one film roll (and the films are also quite pricey). I can’t waste all of them. I need to give my all for each of the photos. After I finished a roll, and send it to the lab and get it developed, I got all the worries how would those 36 photos turn out.

Using Nikon FM with Agfa Vista 400 (So far, Agfa Vista is my favorite type of film but it’s not being produced anymore, broke my heart)

Well, after lots of failure and try agains and deciding to not give up on this thing and figuring out many things matter on using this camera, I could possibly say I’m awake now. My blindness is starting to disappear and I could see the dim light.

Share your analog camera journey with me, I’d love to read them and see that I’m not alone!

See ya!

Taking baby steps to the cruel world. At least, I'm able to write how cruel it is.