ePz's 16 Days Of Xmas, Plus A Prize For Everyone On Xmas Day! Enter The Prize Draw Today!

What?s the use of roots if you can?t spread them?


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
...Read More

Whatís the use of roots if you canít spread them?

11 Jul 2021 8:04AM   Views : 928 Unique : 371


'Whatís the use of roots if you canít spread them, whatís the use of wings if you canít fly?' to quote Brian Bedford's soulful lyric more fully (titles are limited in length, it seems.)

A Silly Sunday topic, in my book: possibly highly offensive to some of my readers, so Iím not going to say what article in which magazine inspired me to write. Iíll just say that as a fan of the Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy, I know a Magrathean tendency when I stumble upon one.

Magrathea, non-fans need to know, is a planet that gained immense wealth constructing bespoke luxury planets for the mega-rich: Jeff Bezos has probably already placed his order for somewhere where the sunsets are precisely the right shade of green. Weíre talking about the collecting of cameras, and the likelihood that a collector wonít take things out of the display cabinet to soil them with a roll of film.

These are the same people, I suspect, as have several supercars in an air-conditioned garage in Monaco, and fly by personal jet to every grand prix. One Casio digital is not enough: nor is the latest Apple watch, or even my 1957 Omega Seahorse (which, like my Alpha 7, is pretty slender and light). For them, it must be big, heavy, waterproof to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, and preferably encrusted with diamonds, rather than just keeping decent time.

I told Mrs D that I was going to write about this, and she said that I have a load of stuff I donít useÖ There may be some justice in that: I havenít used the second Contax RTS I bought (LCE, Southampton, 1980) for years, but I keep it in case the others cease to function. Itís semi-functional: the autoexposure system doesnít work, though the meter is accurate, and the electronic shutter is fine (or was, last time I checked). Itís the sole manual-only RTS in the world!

I have had it in mind to write a blog about genuinely useless things that I own (there are a few), and Iíll save that for another Sunday, soon. Today, itís all about things that are too expensive to risk using and wearingÖ A recent comment in my favourite weekly photo magazine suggested that a camera isnít a proper Leica until itís Ďbrassedí Ė a little bit of metal showing through the black paint. Mine passes the test!
AndÖ some of the superstar trappings are a little bit beyond me. I donít like a watch thatís too big and heavy, for instance (the same goes for cameras: your EOS-1 D is safe from me!), but I am not at all sure that I could own a truly fast car without booking myself and it onto a track day to see just how fast it will go. Having it polished once a month simply wouldnít hack it.

I like value, and I like things that are simply what they are, unashamed and uncompetitive. (I was really rather sad when a painting Iíd bought for £17 proved to be worth several times that when the artist came back into fashion!) Itís a very provincial attitude, but then, Iím provincial: born here, live here. And even a gold Hasselblad with blue leather would have to have a film put through itÖ


Recent blogs by dudler

Focus scales

If youíve been taking pictures since before autofocus arrived, youíll be very familiar with focus scales Ė they are one of the primary controls on an old-school camera, and just one more of the things that you really needed to get right. With autof...

Posted: 27 Dec 2022 7:01AM

Porcelain processing

People commented on the look in my last post and it seems like a good idea to share the secrets for Christmas. I learned the technique several years ago: a modelís boyfriend told me about it, and a website that described it in detail: I tried it, l...

Posted: 23 Dec 2022 10:47AM

You develop your own films donít you?

If you have your own darkroom, or if you use film cameras regularly, there are always a few people who mention the attic. As in ĎGrandpaís cameras are in the attic. I donít even know if they have film in them!í This leads me to ask if I can have a l...

Posted: 16 Aug 2022 11:17AM

Choose your pond

Thereís an old saying about being a big fish and a little pond. Do you want to be the most important person in a small organisation, or are you content being a relatively small cog in a big machine? Itís the same in photography. With relatively mo...

Posted: 3 Jun 2022 2:25PM

Graduated filters

This is for Hannah, and anyone else who has come across the casual way that a lot of togs talk about one or two types of filter that landscaper photographers use a lot: graduated filters and neutral density filters. A graduated filter is one that i...

Posted: 25 Apr 2022 12:18PM


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
11 Jul 2021 8:05AM
This could be an excuse for everyone to photograph some of their battered and treasured posessions...
af1 Avatar
af1 Plus
10 1 United Kingdom
11 Jul 2021 11:33AM
Maybe the missus John...SmileSmile
waltknox Avatar
11 Jul 2021 6:04PM
Stuff that works .... stuff that holds up
The kind of stuff that you donít hang on the wall
Stuff thatís real, stuff you feel,
The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall

This blog immediately brought to mind the stellar Guy Clark song ďStuff that works ď
Thought you might like Guy Clark if you havenít already discovered him John .

Cheers Walt

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
11 Jul 2021 9:01PM
I hadn't heard of Guy Clark - listening now...

And yes - stuff that works, and isn't shiny. Except where it's supposed to be matt...
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 451
12 Jul 2021 12:43AM
Omega Seahorse?
I thought it says Seamaster.
No Leica. It's only me ageing.
Oh! And the computer.
The Zenit looks as it did 35 years ago.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
12 Jul 2021 9:44PM
You are absolutely right, Pablo. I've used it for so long (I inherited it when my Dad died in 1969, and I've used it at least half the time since then) that I only see the time, not the name in that intricate script!
waltknox Avatar
12 Jul 2021 10:28PM
Hope you liked Guy
John ... just thought of another song called ďI found a picture of you ď he dedicated to his late wife whom was a painter. A few references to portrait
work in that number so thought of you .
His Dublin Blues album May have one him a Grammy and is my favourite album.
waltknox Avatar
12 Jul 2021 10:29PM
Correction ! Song is called my favourite picture of you
Cheers. W
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
13 Jul 2021 8:56AM
Liked Guy. Now listening to My Favorite Picture of You...
topsyrm Avatar
topsyrm Plus
12 28 United Kingdom
17 Jul 2021 9:53AM
Ah Omega and Leica a man after my own heart.


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
17 Jul 2021 11:48AM
Suitably battered - used and loved.

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.