January Rangefinder

A menial task triggered a spark of inspiration while I was visiting my family during the winter holidays. In the process of digging through boxes of my belongings in storage, most of which I had completely forgotten about and got along without, I found my collection of useless old cameras. Useless not in the sense that they no longer function or have any value, monetary or otherwise; useless in the sense that their entire capacity as instruments of artistic production has been superseded by digital technologies that not only replace their primary function (the rapid creation of images) but do so in a hygienic and controlled way with the added bonus of flawlessly simulated analog effects. Pick your filter, pick your affect.

But there was something cute about this one, a Yashica rangefinder with aperture priority and no manual exposure. Although I’ve long been an opponent of 35 mm film as a medium clearly surpassed by most digital cameras and even smartphones, I figured it would be an interesting experiment to strap myself to a dead medium and surrender to obligatory automatic exposure. I loaded the camera with 800 speed film and started compulsively documenting everything that caught my attention for a few days. At a bar in Neukölln, Maximilian Schmötzer asserted, “If you are going to use film these days you must have a good reason.” I told him, “For fun,” and he responded, “That’s a good reason.”