This is possibly my favourite picture from all the ones I have ever taken. It was shot over 50 years ago with a Leica IIIa and a 5cm f/3.5 Elmar on (I'm pretty sure) a 50 ASA film made by Ferrania and branded Barfen. Honestly. It was during the (very) few months when I made a modestly determined stab at respectability, as an articled clerk for a firm of accountants. I was an audit junior in Wales, and life was made all the more interesting by the relationship between the group accountant and the chief accountant at the local branch: he had bequeathed her his position (as it were) when he moved from her old post to Head Office.
Anyway, we were on the way home -- walking back to the car park -- when I saw this.I still love it to this day. But here are some words of warning.
First, there's generally a reason why cheap film is cheap. Grainy, slow, and not easy to process (not Kodak or Agfa compatible). Outdated film is worse.
Second, the abysmal technical quality (scratches and stripes) is because this was scanned from a Cibachome I printed from the slide. A publisher, or possibly the Post Office, lost the original. Or maybe it was just me: it was decades ago that I realized I couldn't find it. It's easy to forget just how useful it is to be able to back up a digital image.
Third, although it's easy to pay lip service to the idea that you haven't taken your best picture yet, it's also easy to think, "Well, actually, that was pretty good, and even if it isn't the best ever, it's in the top ten. At least. Will I ever be that good again?"
Fourth, there's a Buddhist saying: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." This means that you shouldn't get hung up on what happens on the road. Enlightenment is the goal. Get too hung up on one minor revelation, and you're in trouble.
On the bright side, remember that the camera you have with you is the best camera in the world. Unless it's not working properly, in which case you should throw it away.Or save it for pictures where you don't really care about the niceties of focus, exposure, etc.
Also, don't let negative influences (being an audit junior) blind you to the beauty and joy in the world.
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Picture and words copyright (c) Roger Hicks 2017