Imagine the perfect day with your camera. That must consist of perfect timing, captivating subjects, and a whole lot of luck. You eventually finish exploring with your camera for the day and decide to head home. You’re on a high from the photographic success and submerge yourself in this “perfect” feeling. It is 82 degrees with not a cloud in sight and the Brooklyn streets seem cleaner than usual. You walk up the steps to your front door and as soon as you get to the last step, you hear a loud thump. You slowly turn around and it’s your camera. “ You gots to be more careful”, said the uncle-like neighbor spectating from his stoop. Sounds like a nightmare right? Well, that was my reality about a month ago with my very first camera. Immediately, I went to PhotoDom NYC to see if it could be revived. This never happened to me before, so I did not know what to expect. I imagined my camera on a stretcher being rushed into a camera hospital with me in the waiting room crying my eyes out anticipating bad news. But, it was really just Dom checking the camera to see if it could fire off a shot. After a few minutes, Dom confirmed that it was time for a new camera. My heart flatlined. But, when one thing dies, another thing lives. I asked him to point me in the direction for a new camera. He brought out a few options and I looked through their viewfinders while he explained the pros and cons of each one. After a few attentive moments, I chose the Nikon N60.
The N60 is a 35mm film SLR camera which was originally sold by Nikon between 1998 and 2001. The body of the camera looks more digital than film but that does not take away from its abilities. It has a lot of perks that I worried would subtract from the authentic experience I could receive with shooting film. I had “grandpa syndrome” which means I was reluctant to try anything new with technology. The super fast autofocus, TTL light metering, and highly automated point and shoot mode teleported me to the future. It made me question if it’s the photographer or the camera making the beautiful images. Once I was finished grappling with that unnecessary thought, I got to fully enjoy the N60 and the new opportunities it afforded me.
The built in flash is my favorite feature thus far. It is highly efficient and allows the integrity of the photos taken to remain. I can make beautiful art in the day and the night without needing an attachment or lower speed film to make sure my art is visible. Oftentimes, shooting on film means I need to make compromises but with this perk, I’m able to create more freely. The TTL light metering amplifies the possibilities making every scenario possible to shoot in. I recently shot at night walking the streets in Brooklyn and the built-in flash helped me capture what I saw in real time.
I was devastated by the death of my first camera. I thought that maybe I wasn’t going to be a photographer anymore until the Nikon N60 slapped me back into reality. The experience reminded me to never get too comfortable in my art. Nothing is perfect; not my camera or my photos. Once I released myself from that expectation and “grandpa syndrome”, I was able to create again through my newly achieved artist voice. The conversations I’m able to have through my art are now are without limitation and still remain authentic. The tragedy transformed itself into a testimony once I gave the Nikon N60 a chance. So, get out of your comfort zone and try something new because there is so much more for us to see beyond our “perfect” experiences.