I still remember the overwhelming joy and excitement when I got my first SLR camera a few years back. It was a Yashica, but I couldn’t recall whether it was from the FX series or the FR. All I could remember is that it had a layer of purple rubber over its body. Unfortunately, it was fairly short-lived. I was in my second semester in a local university, struggling for my art and design diploma and not many who owns an analogue camera. I was one of the few. As a concerned friend, I tend to finish all my assignments early, so that my close friends could borrow my camera. Of course I didn’t want people to think me as a stingy bastard. My big mistake was letting my camera being passed around among friends without my knowledge. I even joked once that my camera was a whore. Finally, it vanished without a trace. And the worst part of it was everyone didn’t have any clue who’s the last person using it, the usual scenario. Strange as it was, I wasn’t that mad. I kind of, just let it go.
Then after a few years, I was on board with the analogue craziness, which seems to take on the local photography culture by storm. It’s the rebirth of analogue photography they said. Out of nowhere, I started to enjoy and appreciate the analogue photography, more than ever. That is when regret and frustration kicked in, to think of my neglecting behavior over my old analogue camera. The market was aware of the uprising, thus, to find an analogue camera with a reasonable price was almost impossible, even the used ones at the flea market. Then after a quite number of persuasions and sweet talks from my friends, I bought a Lomo camera, which was cheaper. So I was on board with Lomo hype. It was a HOLGA 135BC, the “BC” stands for black corners, which the corners of the image will be darkened creating vignettes.
It was fairly easy to use, despite the lens was not aligned with the viewfinder, which I had difficulty to adapt. The first few rolls of films were a bunch of shot that were poorly composed. Then one day, God answered my prayers, I knew He did. I was just accompanying my friend to the second hand store, with no intention to purchase anything, just looking. Both of us were just looking. It was a new store. Destiny put me there; it was the historic day of my life. My eyes caught something in the camera section. On top of the shelves, a Nikon FM10 analogue camera sat there by itself, gazing at me, begging to be picked up. There was another surprise, the price tag showed “RM128” (USD40), way too cheap. Not to mention the favorite model for most of the analogue enthusiasts.
The shop assistant told me it was broken. I almost screamed in frustration. But my heart didn’t give up. I picked it off the shelf. She panicked when popped open the back of the camera to inspect the film chamber. Then she was puzzled and asked me, “owh, is that how you open it?” At that moment I knew she and her colleagues had no knowledge whatsoever about analogue cameras. I tested every shutter speed, aperture, played around the film rewind knob and crank, even took off the lens and replaced it back. I looked at her and said “Yup. She’s broken. But I’ll buy it anyway. I like to collect antiques.” I walked out of the store smiling like a kid walking out of a toy store. There was a quite outcry from my friends who were already visited the store but walked away as soon as the shop assistant told them it was broken. Lucky for me they didn’t check the camera. Like I said, destiny wanted me to find that camera.
From that point, my passion for analogue photography grew stronger as ever. I started to visit the local flea markets if I ever had the chance. After that, I bought two more analogue cameras. They were compact 35mm film cameras. One is manual and the other motorized. Looking forward to get more cameras, and experiment with more films.