Some people go for cars, or watches, or turntables. Cameras are sexy objects. I can listen to the four-stage click of my Leica at 1/15 of a second any day. It is like listening to my daughter’s breath when she is sleeping. I had the outrageous fortune to study with people like Jan Groover when I was getting my film degree at SUNY Purchase. She towered over us, chain-smoking and leering, laughing, jeering and coughing out mantras like, “If it isn’t in the picture, then it isn’t in the picture”.
I thrashed my way through the technical side of lenses and shutters, knees and toes of characteristic curves, film stocks, filtration, enough physics to make me feel like I was back in high school. All of this lead me to shoot totally analog, without even a light meter in the camera. That was many years ago. I never looked back.
In 2011, it was announced that Kodak was going bankrupt. A hot spark ran under my skin. I was embarrassed, trying to remember the last “real picture” I had taken, and if there was even film in my camera. I bought twenty rolls of Tri-X that day, and began shooting This is the City. There is nothing like urgency, and the idea that film and a cherished camera will soon become a relic. Thankfully, Kodak has survived. I have been shooting my own flavor of anthropological street photographs for this project for four years now. Some of them will appear in a book called Tony Come Back August.
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