16 Oct Old Skool Rodz – And Old Skool Cameraz
Go to the magazine rack of any newsagency and look at the car magazines. Bypass the 4WD and luxury European sedans and look for the hot rod and street car magazines*.
Somewhere in there will be one that refers to Old Skool cars. The definition is a little fuzzy – they’re talking about vehicles that are prior to 1966…mostly. And they are talking about American cars…mostly. And you can love ’em or leave ’em just as you wish – the point is that they are being loved by someone and used to their full capacity right now. If you see some of the full kustoms and low-riders they are being used to well over whatever the designers thought was capacity…
The rat rods are another feature of these publications. Not everyone has happened upon a car that can be re-built to factory specifications or prettied up into a show piece. Some old cars are just rusters and the best that can be done is to make them mechanically safe and turn a blind eye to the defects in the appearance. Some owners capitalise upon the look of horrible old steel.
Camera users might well take some guidance from this. If any of h clients of Camera Electronic fancy trips down Memory Lane with photo gear, the shop can provide the vehicles – in the form of secondhand cameras. For some buyers they might be re-living their youth with a camera that they had before. In other instances the buyers are re-living someone else’s youth…taking a different Memory Lane than the one they have maps for. This can lead to problems.
If you fancy an older camera with the view that it will give you the experience of earlier times consider that some of those earlier times didn’t yield very good pictures – particularly if the historic camera wasn’t really a very good camera to start with. Cameras ain’t wine – they don’t mellow with age.
Also remember that the camera that functioned perfectly well in 1948 is now 67 years old. It may not work as well as it did. Hell, I was born in 1948 and I don’t work nearly as good as I did…though I am still pretty to look at.
Finally – the support mechanisms that made the whole system work in the olden days ( Dragons, Elvis, and such…) is not there any more. You can’t get your 620 Verichrome Pan developed at the chemist shop for 7/6. You can put modern emulsions through modern specialist labs at modern prices and get modern prints. You can search around for all the parts needed to develop and process and make your own little Rochester in your house – and God bless you for it – but if you need quick pics or lotsa pics it ain’t gonna work. Trust me on this – I am typing this from a little Rochester that has been converted into a digital darkroom.
Old Skool is fun. Do it for fun. If you do it for profit expect your Memory Lane to be dark, unpaved, and dotted with potholes.
*FORGED is a WA publication and is well worth buying. Also anything from Koolhouse Publications.