Saturday, February 19, 2011
every camera I own: the yashica A
The Yaschia A is a Twin Lens Reflex - the iconic model of such cameras is the fabled Rolleiflex. I've always wanted a Rolleiflex - I remember staring through the window of the old Penn Camera on E Street at a model that was going for what now seems a not-bad $300. But the varieties of Yashica TLRs are exponentially less expensive, and still take wonderful photos, and I'm only now beiginng to realize that. This model comes with an 80mm Yashikor lens that stops down to f3.5. Shutter speeds are from 1/25-1/300 and a bulb setting. I've read that the technical specs of the shutter and lens are "limited," but I use far more limited toy cameras, and on a regular basis.
I bought this camera in the early 90's and can count on one hand the number of rolls I've fed through it since then. But on one of those rolls I took one of the few pictures I made of my mother, who died seventeen years ago today.
As I've been going through my cameras I've found rolls of film that I started years ago. The film I had loaded in the Yashica went back to early 2007, when I stayed at the fabled and haunted Hotel Chelsea. I'm a part-time student of the modern ghost story, and know there are many instances where photographers claim to have captured an unsettled spirit on film, or more than likely now, in pixels. But I'm not faimiliar with any stories where the camera itself is haunted. Can a lens retain the memory of what it saw? I'm projecting. But my mother died long before she could see her grandchildren, and my sentimental imagination likes to think I've somehow linked them through the soft lens of my Yashica A.
I don't know why it is I've neglected this camera, even after my renewed enthusiasm for photography, but when I saw the results of this roll, I knew I could not refuse what it had to see. This picture of the next generation of my family was shepherded in part by the next generat of photo technology: I metered this with an iPod touch app.