Friday, April 2, 2010

Completing The Look - Part I

My Pen with a "Hippie Camera Strap"

If there is one thing that the Pen (or Micro 4/3rds format in general) has resurrected, it's the old school film-era style of photography.  When I say 'style' I mean a number of things:  Fashion, Lens Choices, and Post Processing.  Yes, this is a fad, but it's a good one, one that can teach us a few things in a world lost to  automatic technology.  So what does one need to 'Complete The Look' and become a true old-school photographer ?  Well in the next few weeks I will be talking about everything from fashion, to technique in a series dedicated to bridging the analog & digital divide.

Today I'd like to talk about fashion in relation to photography.  Why fashion ?  I mean really who cares about the look of the camera ?  Well I for one think it does matter, even if the effect is more or less psychological.  Our digital cameras are designed to be perfect, automatic, no work required, color output machines.  As much as I embrace the technology that goes in digital, one can't help but to feel a bit 'tired' of the cookie cutter look of SLRs and the feeling that once you own one cliche 'soccer mom' pictures of the kids running around and flowers in the backyard are the only things that seem to come natural.  Yes, I know I am being a little sarcastic here, but truth be told sometimes the device in hand does in fact become an extension of our perspective.  One can't help but to shoot black and white with a Pen, but why is that ?  You can shoot black and white pictures with just about any camera, but the Pen seems to provoke the interest a bit more.  It's the design and style that plays a role here and regardless of how you attempt to deny it, it works.   Put an all magnesium weather sealed Nikon D3 in one's hand and watch what happens:  the camera inspires confidence.  People assume as it's a pro camera it will auto-magically make them a pro.  Now put a cheap, disposable camera in hand - where is the confidence now ?  Yes, I know we are comparing apples to oranges here, but keep in mind that we are not comparing specifications, were comparing the look and feel of the machines in hand.

So if you really want to go all out and complete the look of your Pen, here are some suggestions:

Get an Vintage Camera Strap.   These straps also known as 'Hippie' camera straps are all over ebay and  tend to be dirt cheap.  There wide with a velvety finish and actually feel very nice around the neck all the while giving the camera a very era specific look. 

Ebay ( Leather Cases )
Purchase a leather case (or for a truly retro look, go for a half-case as shown above).  Not only does it look good, feel good, and smell good - but it also protects your investment.
Apply a skin to your camera's body.  Again not only does it 'complete the look', but it also helps protect the body.  Skins are in everything from leather to wood grain as shown above.

Any more tips for "Completing The Look", please share in our comments section.

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