The definition of hoarding according to the Mayo Clinic is: a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.
I am guilty as charged, and I don’t mind, but I don’t feel distress in getting rid of them if they are going to someone else who appreciates them. I simply want to rescue them from being trashed.
The other day I was listening to my favorite podcast Sunny 16 episode 141 To Hoard or not to Hoard, and I got to thinking about my own collection and why I have so many cameras.
Graem, a host on the podcast, tried to explain why he likes cameras that are, in Ades opinion, useless doorstops, and it seemed to me they represent the two different types of film photographers: those who mainly care about the quality of the pictures their camera produces and those who thoroughly enjoy the entire process of taking the picture.
While I love taking good pictures, obviously all photographers do, I think there are those of us who appreciate an interesting camera more than we do just the photographs it produces.
I feel I am doing my part to save film photography in my way. I find cameras that may be thrown out, fix them, shoot with them and get my enjoyment out of them. I then review them on here and my YouTube channel, hopefully encouraging others to go out and do the same.
We all have our reasons why we started shooting with vintage cameras. (Face it, all film cameras are now considered vintage, at least in my eyes.) Some genuinely just want a well built machine that will give them great results. These people usually aren’t attached to their gear in any way. Then there’s those of us who want to rescue these cameras, as Rachel said in the episode, she goes to shops and sees these cameras and wants to rescue them from going in the trash.
That is how I feel. I feel almost a responsibility to try to fix the camera and bring it back to life. If I fail I actually feel a genuine disappointment in myself.
One camera that could be considered a doorstop, the box camera, is literally just a box with a tiny lens on it. Why would anyone still want to waste film with one of these? I can’t answer for anyone else, but for myself it’s the thought that another human being almost 100 years ago held this camera and saw their world through the same lens. It feels like a time capsule in my hands. Now it’s my turn to record my world with it and pass those pictures on.
Granted, those pictures aren’t the best you can get from a film camera, but I still get excited every time I get film back from the lab that actually came out exposed from a really old camera.
To me these vintage cameras are small pieces of history that deserve our care and attention. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think bad of those who don’t care about saving an old camera, everyone sees things differently. We all have attachments to different objects in our lives. As Ade said in the show, his brain just doesn’t work like that. He just doesn’t see them in that way.
Just like one would spread awareness for a disease I feel that my blog reviews and YouTube videos are also a way of spreading awareness for an institution that will eventually die because these cameras will at some point become extinct. I think it’s this knowledge (unless some company decides to start making film cameras again) that makes photographers like me want to collect cameras and shoot with as many as I can, while I still can.
So let me know in the comments below, are you a self proclaimed vintage camera hoarder, or do you shoot with whatever is going to give you your best pictures?
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