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jjrd, shawinigan, quebec, canada

ancient contax buddies

La rapidité à laquelle la technologie photographique évolue donne ici lieu... à un simple questionnement.




I have been known to have a fondness for dark, obscure tirages printed on fiber based paper. Even for out of focus, messy shots. Frankly, I’d rather gaze at an experimentation by Moholy-Nagy than admire a Chanel ad any day of the week. In other words, I am not a technical kind of a guy. I rarely talk about these earthly, perfunctory things, but today… I do feel like talking about the shop — what it is individuals are using to photograph. Yes, equipment day is here in JJRD’s bunker.


László Moholy-Nagy, Superimposition, 1935

Collection: George Eastman House.


I used to shoot mainly with an old Contax body and but a few lenses. Well, times have changed, I guess. I now mostly use digital equipment of much inferior quality. Why? The thrill of speed, the inveiglement of immediacy. It’s honestly irresistible. Just as 35mm was when it first hit the scene. Proof? Well… even Contax is coming up with a paralyzing new digital body… to me, that sums it up pretty well. Surprising? Not really. Leica, you’re next… on The Price is Right!

Speaking of price, at what cost is the world turning into zeros and ones? What are we loosing in this, a sweeping swap to numerical wildness? Archives could be the answer. Can anyone honestly assert with any degree of certainty that most digital imagery shot today will still be around 100 years for now? Well, as of today, perhaps only Pedro Meyer — an artist that I respect very much — could reach that level of audacity!


René Lachapelle, Alcan, 2001


This world is a ravishing place. The more we look, the more we want to look. The more we shoot, the more we want to shoot. A dear, dear friend of mine, passed away in early 2001. René Lachapelle was an adulterer of light. As far as photography is concerned, he could turn most anything into a magnum opus, using any piece of equipment. Plagued with cancer, he even scored a few shots using the very last christmas gift I had the chance of offering him… a Lomo Action Sampler!

To illustrate this ephemeral text, I felt like showing not René Lachapelle’s finest print, but his last. I am convinced I had scanned that very print… but I just can’t seem to find the file anywhere. Conceivably, my last computer crash erased it before I had the time to back it up. Heck, I’ll scan it again… and there it was. I may very well reconsider the old Contax... after all, them Zeiss lenses are mighty fine.




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