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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Cameras, Watches, Pinball Machines and Objectophilia
Old 12-10-2011   #1
NickTrop
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Cameras, Watches, Pinball Machines and Objectophilia

Here's me thesis.

None of you (self included) really are drawn to old, obsolete (shriek) cameras and camera gear due to any meaningful advantage they possess over new digital technology.

Here, lie down on the couch. Let me give you some free psychoanalysis.

1. You probably like mechanical watches (wearing an old mechanic Timex myself. Pain in the arse to set the day/date. Forget to wind it sometimes. Keeps rotten time by modern quartz standards...)

2. Considered buying an old mechanical pinball machine recently. Loved playing pinball as a kid. The machines lost me as they incorporated more synth and digital technology in their failed efforts to compete with video games for kids quarters at the arcade.

Still I love the old electro-mechanical Bally, Gottlieb, and Williams machines...

3. Prefer a manual transmission, no?



4. Of course, you like to "fondle" your old film camera. Twist that focus ring... press the shutter release..."click". Advance the film and the subtle vibration of the gears doing thar thing deep withing the body of the camera... Almost like sex to you. No?

And each of these mechanical cameras is like a new partner, which is why you have so many of them, and can't get enough.

_____________________________________

Well, diagnosis is not good. You're all pretty screwed up. You have a mild form of Objectophilia

Object sexuality or objectum sexuality, in German objektophil (OS), [1] is a pronounced emotional and often romantic desire towards developing significant relationships with particular inanimate objects. Those individuals with this expressed preference may feel strong feelings of attraction, love, and commitment to certain items or structures of their fixation. For some, sexual or even close emotional relationships with humans are incomprehensible. Object-sexual individuals also often believe in animism, and sense reciprocation based on the belief that objects have souls, intelligence, feelings, and are able to communicate.[2] Contrary to sexual fetishism, the object to an OS person is viewed as their partner and not as a means to an end to enhance a human sexual relationship.
- Wikipedia.

This is a recently discovered psychological malady most often found in women, one of whom recently "fell in love with" and "married" the Eiffel Tower.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h93Q_RruQJY


For men, however, you are "attracted" to electro mechanical objects. You all suffer to some degree of the same malady above. But because you're men, you don't "fall in love an marry these objects" like women do. You "use and abuse them".

Further, these items need to be "needy". They must "rely" on you and you must "care" for them - but here's the key, by "touch" and "by hand". Your watch needs to be wound and set. Your manual transmission needs to be shifted. That pinball machine needs its plunger pulled, flippers flipped, she shaken a tad...

And, of course, your camera needs to be loaded, focused, the film advanced. These acts probably activate the same centers of your brain as sex. These items must "need" you, and you must have mastery over them. You hate digital because it's too "independent".

In conclusion, you have the "male" form of the malady of the woman who married the Eiffel Tower. You all suffer to varying degrees from object sexuality. Advancing the film is an "act of sex" to you.

Leicas are your "trophy wife" (that you cheat on).


Nick Trop

Last edited by NickTrop : 12-10-2011 at 08:14.
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Old 12-10-2011   #2
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nah... I have old cameras cause chicks dig em! Could not give a damn otherwise. Now there is honesty
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Old 12-10-2011   #3
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This is going to be an interesting thread
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Old 12-10-2011   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
nah... I have old cameras cause chicks dig em! Could not give a damn otherwise. Now there is honesty
You are in denial. This is the first symptom. I'm trying to free you from your obvious delusions. Do not resist, for the love of God, do not resist!
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Old 12-10-2011   #5
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Nah, I don't buy it. Cameras are tools. Manual cameras are tools that allow you to totally control the picture taking experience, just like a manual transmission car allows you to control the driving experience. Not into pinball machines and though I admire certain mechanical watches, don't wear them. But for me it's about controlling and fully interacting with the experience.

Now I'll admit to being a control freak. That's spot on.

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Old 12-10-2011   #6
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I don't wear a watch (why? I've always got my phone with me).
Have never driven a stick shift and in the event that I became rich enough to buy a Porsche, I'd get the 7-speed automatic/double-clutch/whatever they call it.
Loved the movie-era Addams Family pinball machine.
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Old 12-10-2011   #7
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Personally, I like to buy old camera gear, take it apart, and fix it. Then I like using the stuff that I repair.

I believe it has more to do with being in my mid 50s than anything else. Make something old work better than it did, then use that old thing to get images that other people ask "How can I get one of those lenses."

so- It's because I am old. So face it- You're just getting old.
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Old 12-10-2011   #8
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This is going to be an interesting thread
gonna make some popcorn
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Old 12-10-2011   #9
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Now, kiddes... here's your RFF red meat for the afternoon. But daddy's got to go bye-bye's now to take care of some sh-t. I'll be back soon, and I'm looking forward to this discussion.

However, do note, even though I am a sarcastic a-hole, what I stated in my thread I believe to be 100% true. You (and me, but to a much, much lesser extent than most of you) love cameras along with many other "similar" electro-mechanical objects, and are drawn to them, due to a "touch" (not full blown) but "a touch" of a psychological malady known as...

objectum sexuality or objectophilia, or objectum sexuality.

And when I say "Leicas are the coveted trophy wife" I wasn't kiddin'

Laters...
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Old 12-10-2011   #10
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Wondered why the push pull action of my old 80-200mm was so comforting... push pull.. push pull..
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Old 12-10-2011   #11
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I can understand the concept of objectophillia, but this doesn't explain the differentiation between similar objects. I mean, why are older mechanical cameras (watches, fountain pens) more often the object of desire/attraction than their modern equivalents/replacements?
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Old 12-10-2011   #12
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Nick- you are in denial about getting old.

Using this stuff is more like hanging onto the ways that were good enough when we were young.

Making something old work like new again is just an attempt at preserving our legacy.

Getting images out of an anachronism that make people go "wow"- means that what we are not quite as obsolete as it might seem.

There should be a Twilight Zone episode about this.

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Old 12-10-2011   #13
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For me, photography is not about sex with machines; it's about beer .

Most pictures I take (based on volume) are at the bar. Taking candid portraits with my D90, a cheap 50mm and ISO 1600-3200 while promising to put pics on Facebook get me, on average, 3-6 free beers a night, and always from the ladies. Last time I went out, I bought one beer and went home pissed (at 6', 250lbs, it takes quite a few) with a couple of phone numbers after I told them how I use my camera to get over my own shyness and to get to know the world better (which actually isn't as big of a load of crap as it sounds, although I'm getting really good at telling the story, hehe). Some girls like sensitive guys .

With the money I'm saving with my free drinks, I could probably switch to an F5 or Bessa R2a (Maybe an M6 or ZI if I do this long enough) and pushed Tri-X for the same result, but I don't trust myself to develop film, wait for it to dry and then scan and post when I'm drunk (if I don't do it that night, I'll keep procrastinating). What I need is a digital RF with a big sensor (APS-C or bigger), d90 high ISO quality or better, and a sub-$1000 price tag (not impossible, just improbable as RF users are used to obscene prices) or a 1-hour film lab with B&W capability and open after 2 a.m.

Now, why do I like old cameras (and in fact, other than my FE, I don't use a camera with even a built-in meter)? Because I hate buying batteries AND film . One or the other is OK, but not generally both.
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Old 12-10-2011   #14
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I think you're on to something here, Doc. And you might want to think about the Classifieds... sex slave market?
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Old 12-10-2011   #15
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Well, I think probably there are as many different reasons for using a film rangefinder camera as there are photographers but I'm sure there are quite a few of us who have a streak of object fetishism. I collected fountain pens very seriously at one point (liked fixing old ones) and still have more than I need; I'm the editor of a magazine for watch collectors; and I have quite a silly number of film cameras by any normal person's standards (too many digitals as well.) I've often wondered what this affection for troublesome, technically inferior older technology says about me (I'm the only person I know, even among watch collectors, who carries a pocket watch on a regular basis) and i think it's partly object fetishsim and partly a nostalgia trip for an idealized past that probably didn't exist anyway. I wear bow ties a lot too so there you go.

I'm sure not everyone who uses, say, an M3 is motivated by object fetishism to any degree, but obviously some are.

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Old 12-10-2011   #16
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>3. Prefer a manual transmission, no?

We here over Big Pond are used to shift manually because we don't have to eat or drink while driving. Auto tranny is in same league as drinking coca-cola or working in open-space office - it can be done, but why poison your life?
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Old 12-10-2011   #17
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yup..

http://rangefinderforum.com/forums/s...hreadid=102074

We're "Just Old".
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Old 12-10-2011   #18
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Nick

There may just be a glimmer of truth in your diagnosis. Interesting to see the rationalized denials. In the end who really cares why I or anyone else really has and uses old technology. It is enough just to enjoy a harmless little fetish without undue navel gazing.

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Old 12-10-2011   #19
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Nope. You are all, obviously, in denial. This is the first symptom of objectophillia. RFF is a den of camera objectophillia... People drink, psychologists tell us, as a form self-medication for psychological maladies.

RFF is a "self group therapy session" - comparably to "self-medicating" by alchohol, for suffers of camera objectophilia. You suffered alone prior to the Internet. But now "group therapy" has been enabled by technology. (Not necessarily a bad thing...)

Back to the "denial" phase... When did you start "lusting" after cameras... pouring obsessively at the "camera porn" in the "girlie mags" like Popular Photograhy? Around the same time you "came of age"? No? In your teens? Eh?

Quit denying your fetish. It's okay. We're all human. Everyone on the planet has some kind of issue.

And your issue is "camera objectophilia" - it truly is. You had it all your life.

I'm here to help...

But the first step toward freedom is to admit to it. We have to get past the denial phase...
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Old 12-10-2011   #20
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Nick, you are in Denial.

You are attempting to "think young" by fooling yourself that lust over old cameras is about sex, and not just because you are old.

Sad, really.

Embrace your age.
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Old 12-10-2011   #21
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Brian - I'm totally cool with my age. 100%. Never been better. Never been happier. I'm 48. If asked "what age could I pick?" I'd say, meh, mid-30's? But, no, I'm not upset at all with how old I am...

Life is good. "Kinks" (that we all share) -n- all...

But you raise a good point. The benefit of aging, is maturity which I define as the freeing of oneself from youthful delusions

Now, again, hear what I'm saying... The woman who married the Eiffel Tower has an extreme case of this. We all have "colds", she has a pneumonia.

But everyone here is infected. It's a matter of degrees.
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Old 12-10-2011   #22
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Okay...
I've used the same type watch for many years...Timex Ironman (Digital)...I've had maybe four over the past 20+ years...love em...
Never cared for Pinball Machines or Video games...
Manual Transmissions...Okay, you got me there...I love shifting...most likely a Control thing but could be that I just find it sexy to do even if I'm driving alone...
Fondling my "cameras" ...I do that...
I like the feel, the sound, focusing, pretending I'm shooting, looking at and actually using them...
I find the older ones interesting, well made, prettier and they have a personality all their own...Just like the cars of old...not talking super old but the cars of my youth...the late 50's, most of the 60's and a lot of the 70's...cars that had chrome...cars that changed every production year...you could tell the year of it coming or going...well made, easy to work on and fun to drive...
Maybe that's why I still own my very first car...a 1969 VW Beetle...my first Love...did I marry it...maybe I did...but been cheating on it with my wife for the last 26 years...
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Old 12-10-2011   #23
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Now- there is a special feeling of satisfaction that I get from making a lens out of parts, taking something that is 75 years old and making it work on a 21st century camera,


coated_sonnar_m9 by zeiss_sonnar, on Flickr

and getting it to focus exactly where I want it to, and get images that get marked "favorites" on Flickr.



Nice to know that it's old, I'm old, but it still has a lot of value in doing the job that it was made for.

Not so much "sex", but more respect for a bygone age.
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Old 12-10-2011   #24
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Not Sexual but Sexy...
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Old 12-10-2011   #25
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I simply trust all joy.
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Old 12-10-2011   #26
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I admit! And it's frustrating in some ways... So, how to cure the disease?

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Old 12-10-2011   #27
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Okay, I use my cell phone as a watch really don't care if what I'm driving is auto or manual got over pinball by 22. I own a fed 5v, a gsn, perkeo 1 and a pentax 645. Cost slightly over $400 show me the latest digital whatever that for that price and lenses costing no more than the pentax lenses and I'll jump on it instead. By the way 2 of my cams are no longer mine after Christmas.
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Old 12-10-2011   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon_sam View Post
Manual Transmissions...Okay, you got me there...I love shifting...most likely a Control thing but could be that I just find it sexy to do even if I'm driving alone...
Fondling my "cameras" ...I do that...
I like the feel, the sound, focusing, pretending I'm shooting, looking at and actually using them...
I find the older ones interesting, well made, prettier and they have a personality all their own...Just like the cars of old...not talking super old but the cars of my youth...the late 50's, most of the 60's and a lot of the 70's...cars that had chrome...cars that changed every production year...you could tell the year of it coming or going...well made, easy to work on and fun to drive...
Maybe that's why I still own my very first car...a 1969 VW Beetle...my first Love...did I marry it...maybe I did...but been cheating on it with my wife for the last 26 years...
Yes, you were (cheating)... Would you listen to yourself, mahn. You have it. Objectophilia. I'm convinced of this. But you have the sniffels...

By the way...

Did you ever see women playing pinball often?
Who drives "manual transmissions"?
Does "the Mrs." understand your camera fondling?

What is the gender of 99% of the posters on RFF?

Think about it.
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Old 12-10-2011   #29
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I drive a jeep and a truck, both automatic.

I shoot mostly SLR's, Nikon N70 being my most used camera. Love the AF.

I shoot a Agfa Isolette II, because I like 6x6. If I could buy a modern 6x6 for a decent (to me) price I would use it way more than the Agfa.

I have not worn a watch in over 25 years.

I have never owned a fountain pen.

Pinball is boring, Like baseball.

I just like film. I never develop my own.
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Old 12-10-2011   #30
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Of course the other explanation is that you were potty trained too early.
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Old 12-10-2011   #31
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Quote:
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Of course the other explanation is that you were potty trained too early.
Me thinks ye protesteth too much, sir...
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Old 12-10-2011   #32
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My name is Frank, I am a photographer and I am also a photo gear head. I'm okay with that. Not even Nick's psycho analysis can make me feel bad about that.
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Old 12-10-2011   #33
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Auto transmissions make poor drivers. Functionally, manuals are quicker, more economical, simpler and more durable.
So you can discount that one from the list.

Everything else - I actually agree with you. I actually do lust after beautiful leica gear in the same way a teen lusts after girls in a skin mag. I'm not even ashamed of it
But at the same time my gear is very utilitarian - a 5d, an eos 1n and an x100. Everything I need and nothing I don't.
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Old 12-10-2011   #34
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Honestly Nick, Obsessive compulsive behavior can always be traced back to human error and being potty trained to early.
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Old 12-10-2011   #35
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I'm not sure.

Mechanical watch yes, but that's because I couldn't afford the Kinetic version at the time and the mechanical one was 1/3 the price. I now swap between them. The mechanical one actually does keep remarkably good time at the moment, maybe losing a second a day.

Manual gearbox yes, but I'm British and we don't like automatics unless they're in big executive cars which are supposed to waft you around rather than be driven with any purpose.

But then I look at the five bicycles in the garage, including three uber-rare Sturmey-Archer AM gear hubs from the 1950s (which need to be oiled regularly and require a certain finesse in operation), and I wonder.
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Old 12-10-2011   #36
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I like futzing with my 35 year old motorcycle. I wouldn't trade it for a modern one.
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Old 12-10-2011   #37
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Quote:
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Honestly Nick, Obsessive compulsive behavior can always be traced back to human error and being potty trained to early.
Human eh? I sometimes suspect alien intervention myself ...
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Old 12-10-2011   #38
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I still think it has more to do with being middle aged, and post middle aged.

We like to use the things that we picked up in our youth. It's comforting as you go through life's journey. Wow. But this is the Philosophy Forum.
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Old 12-10-2011   #39
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Quote:
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I like futzing with my 35 year old motorcycle. I wouldn't trade it for a modern one.
Ahh, but I know what bike you ride. And no modern bike has the same sense of style!
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Old 12-10-2011   #40
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'Objectophile'.


'Objectophile'.



Hm. Has a nice ring to it, Nick.

As if I would love to oppose anything. 'I object!' No matter what!

Swell.

Oh, and that camera thing I can live with. Only other things are a cheap pocket knife, a brass Zippo (quit smoking years ago), and I'm looking for a nice fountain pen to fall in love with.
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