Light leaks & new cameras

After spending some time getting re-acquainted with shooting film on my OG film camera, I decided to mix things up and start shooting with something different.

I have a small collection of vintage cameras and most of them are display only; they were either gifted to me by family or friends or I picked them up from “the free-pile” on random stoops (or in the lobby of apartments I have lived in). There are a few that I have yet to get assessed to see if they are still operational, and one in particular was calling my name – my Pentax LX.

For those who aren’t familiar, a Pentax LX is a 35mm single-lens reflex film camera manufactured in Japan. This camera was created in 1980 and was produced up until 2001. My Pentax LX also came with the Winder LX, which is a battery-powered automatic rewind attachment (and made it super easy to load and unload film).

I already had 35mm film on deck, so I copped 2 AA batteries for the winder and 2 cell batteries for the light meter in my Pentax, and I was ready to test it out.

I shot the first test roll with the Winder LX not attached to the camera body. The camera (with and without the winder) didn’t fit in my everyday bag, so it took a little longer to finish the roll but I got it done. It wasn’t until I got my negatives back (that were completely blank, btw) that I realized that there was a light leak in the camera body. After examining the camera myself, I tried taping where I thought the leak was and loaded the camera with the second test roll, only to find out the sad truth: the camera wasn’t operational. So back to the display shelf it went.

After doing some research, I decided to finally invest in new 35mm camera that would fit in my everyday bag and I got myself a Reto Ultra Wide & Slim from Photodom. 

(Pictured above from top to bottom: Pentax LX, Reto Ultra Wide & Slim, and my OG Canon.)

I’ve mentioned this is previous posts, but I’ve struggled over the years with bringing my camera with me outside of when I have a session booked. With my Reto, I was able to keep it in my everyday bag and take a photo whenever I was out and about. It’s super light-weight and has an ultra-wide 22mm lens, so provides something a little different than your standard point and shoot. Below are some of my favorites photos that I have taken with my Reto so far.

(Pictured locations above: Charleston, South Carolina, Rome, Italy, Orvieto, Italy, and New Orleans, Louisiana.)

This point and shoot camera is best used in daylight. You can use film with low ISO in bright sun and get really beautiful, vibrant images. Moving forward, I’ll be better about recording which type of film I’ve used so I can also share that info alongside future camera review posts. 

If you’re looking for a light-weight, affordable 35mm camera that fits in your pocket, AND takes great photos, I highly recommend the Reto.

James Turrell, Meeting

On a recent adventure out to Queens with Mandilla, we stopped by MoMA PS1 to check out the Greater New York, which is a compilation of work from artists living and working in New York. This year's compilation was the 5th edition. Some of the work was stronger and more cohesive than others, but the exhibit overall was worth making the trek from Brooklyn for. The mural in the photograph above is one of the first things you see when you enter the exhibit.

Completely separate from the exhibit, in a classroom on the third floor of MoMA PS1 was James Turrell's Meeting. This exhibit has been in place since 1980 and somehow this was my first time viewing it. I spent maybe twenty minutes in the room, trying to figure out if the ceiling was actually open to the sky or if it was an optical illusion.

This space is second in a series called "Skyspaces" that Turrell began in the 1970s. The room is completely empty aside from the wooden benches wrapping around the room. In the photograph below, you can see the richness of the wood and the reflection of the natural light bouncing on the grain. After walking through the previous exhibit, Meeting provided a brief moment of clarity; as a viewer you can sit, look up, and watch the sky. 

Walking in Memphis

Over two months later, I’m in a headspace where I feel I can really reflect on this trip. Prior to this visit and during, my full-time job had made it’s way back into the forefront of my mind and started occupying more space in my mind that it had previously. That said, I’m on the other side of that and ready to keep the “creative juices flowing”, as they say. 

I went to Memphis with great intentions and expectations. I wanted to celebrate my aunt and her wedding and to get a deeper understanding of my family’s beginnings and where the Jones’ origin story began. 

We spent one afternoon before the wedding driving through the neighborhood where my mom grew up and driving past the storefronts that my grandpa used to own and run. It was an experience that I will remember forever; my oldest brother and myself both hearing stories that neither of us had ever heard before from our cousin who grew up in the area. I spent majority of that trip listening to the stories being shared and the sharing moments with cousins and siblings, and aunts and new uncles. 

The photos above are from the first full day we had in Memphis. We walked around downtown, up and down Beale Street and back to the riverfront. Despite the weather (there was an ice storm that shut the city down) and the time of week we visited (we learned that it is best to visit between after Thursday-Saturday if we want to see the city at it’s full potential), I loved Memphis. Being able to see it with my own eyes after hearing stories about it for so long filled a space in my heart that I didn’t know needed filling. 

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