How does working with an analog camera feel for a millennial? Well, it is not easy. Through two anecdotes, I try to make you experience my struggles.
I feel a kind of pressure entering my body before taking the first photo, but I can’t and don’t want to postpone it much longer. “Now you’re going to make some real good analog photos”, I say to myself. I try to put the cat in the right position and when I’m done, I bring the camera to my eyes. ‘Click’, the camera says when I press the button. I immediately wonder if the cat did not just turn his little head when I took the photo and out of a reflex I look at the camera to check if my first attempt has been successful. Directly, I feel stupid, since that is of course impossible with this analog camera. 15 more chances. That doesn’t sound as too much, if I think about it. I sigh and take a look at my model again. The cat has suddenly changed to an extremely cute and photogenic position and before thinking I press the button again. No click. For a moment, I look at the camera, confused and surprised. Then, I realize that I should have turned the knob first. A little angry, I turn the knob to the next photo, but in the meantime, the cat has walked away, probably bored by my desperate attempts to take a good photo. Too late, but I won’t give up that easily. I go after him, determined to get that photo, and when he turns his head to me again, I quickly press the button. Doubting, I stare at the camera. Would there already be a good one? Perhaps not, but it would be a shame to waste the whole film on the cat. I sigh one more time and start trying to get the cat’s attention again. Still 14 more chances. That should be enough for at least one good photo.
‘Well, it looks like something went wrong’
My camera film is full and I am walking through the rain, on my way to the photo shop, to develop the roll there. With a feeling of confident, I step into the shop. “Can I help you?”, a young, male shop employee asks me. I tell him what I am there for. He nods and takes the camera from me. For a while, he turns the knob and then he opens the camera. He frowns. “Well, it looks like something went wrong”, he says. At first I think he’s joking, but then he continues: “Unfortunately, you have not taken any photos.” “What?”, I stammer, confused and surprised. My confidence is instantly gone. “But I saw the green light every time I took a picture.” According to the man, that didn’t mean anything, because the camera roll wasn’t installed properly. I feel that my face has gotten a red color by now. I am embarrassed and feel stupid for not asking help with installing the thing and wanting to discover myself how the camera worked so badly. The man is friendly and tells me that it’s not that bad, that it happens a lot and that I can still use the roll. I still feel ashamed. He installs the roll correctly and explains to me how it works, before handing it over to me. As I hold it in my hands, it even feels like it’s more of a functioning thing now, but that might just be my imagination. It does make me aware of my own stupidity again, though. “I guess I’ll be back tomorrow”, I say. Awkwardly laughing, I walk out of the shop, wondering if I ever dare to come back there again.
Background Prior to writing these anecdotes, I worked with the analog camera for a few hours. While experiencing it, I used a methodology named 'phenomenology'. In phenomenology, what you do is analyzing the way one receives the world in his or hers everyday experience of it and in what ways this is meaningful to him or her. While using the analog camera, I analyzed my own way of experiencing it, which ultimately brought me to writing the anecdotes.