I love technology. Ask my wife, I have all sorts of crazy ideas on how to get our house connected, always talk about the newest watches, gizmos, gadgets…you get the idea. But there is something unique about the analog counterparts in our digital world. Whether its listening to a vinyl record compared to Pandora, the look and sound of a mechanical watch compared to a digital one, and the feel of my old Leica compared to my Sony A7. I’ve said this multiple times, but there is something about holding a camera that is nearly 60 years old and works as if it was just made. How it has no batteries and all the shutter speeds are perfect day after day. I have a similar feeling with the Bronica, even though it has an electronic shutter. The feel, build, and weight of those cameras make it more fun to shoot with – in the end it may not lead to better photos, but photos that I enjoy more because of the process. It is that tangibleness, that soul, of those analog forms that make them so unique.
So…what does this have to do with printing? Well, the analog counterpart to an ink-jet printer was and still is the dark room. I have been developing my own black and white film for about a year now, but I always thought having an enlarger would be out of the question. I would make off handed remarks to my wife about it would be neat to try printing sometime in the dark room. We looked up local classes, found dark rooms that you could rent, but in the end it was kind of a “that would be pretty cool” kind of thought. Then Christmas came along, and in an extra bathroom in the basement was an old Durst D2 enlarger with all the fixins’. Now my nearly 60 year old Leica had a nearly 60 year old enlarger to play with. It is kind of cool to think that someone in the late 1960s could of been using the exact same equipment as me to take, develop, and print photos. I spent this last Sunday making my first prints, and I won’t lie some did not turn out that great (maybe they were just bad). But by the end I had 3 prints I was pretty proud of. I love it when you unravel a reel of negatives and see all the images for the first time, and this is even better in the dark room with prints. I said this when I developed my first roll of film, but it applies here as well with my first print…I’m hooked.
I would say my wife doesn’t know that she just added fuel to this fire…but she knows me too well for that and I’m pretty sure knows all to well what she has gotten herself into. And honestly, thats pretty awesome. And means more than any print or camera ever will.