16 December 2013

Kodak Instamatic X-15

18" x 24", oil on canvas, 2013

I've posted before about my love of photography and the SLR film camera I used to use extensively to shoot my photo reference for my paintings, and I've painted a different, older, non-functional film camera quite a bit (most recently and most pointedly in My Advantage Point). However, the cost of film photography combined with my novice-like understanding of F-stops, etc. made switching to a digital SLR (which, aside from the occasional auto-focus feature, I use in its manual setting, to replicate using my Minolta) this past summer all the more convenient, economical, and photographically certain. I can now instantly see if I'm getting the exposure I want/need and only have to print the photos I choose (with a bit of post-processing and recomposing with other photos in Photoshop) to use as reference for my artwork.

I still love the process of film photography and the sophisticated-yet-low-tech nature of it, and the cameras of a certain era (much like cars from a certain era) have an aesthetic that still appeals greatly to me, so I'll still be including them, here and there, in future paintings.

The camera above was my family's main image recording device for nearly two decades and below is a quickly-retouched picture of me as an infant (probably mid-1972, judging by my size) playing with its big box in our first house on Dundas Street in Toronto:

Probably the first photo taken with this camera.

Below is the 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" photo as it looks today, recently (and carefully) pulled out of a family album where it's been living for over 40 years (complete with bonus wallet-size 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" version provided by Chas Abel Photo Service in Toronto:


The nature of the film used in the Instamatic meant that all the prints came out square, which, for my entire pre-adolescent life, was how I thought photos worked and viewed rectangular home photos as strange and incorrect. Now that I've just written that, I realize I should've made this painting square!



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