Luca Bevacqua is a great photographer from Italy. He is the author of the blog Addicted2Light and has built what may be one of the world’s largest lists of legacy lenses with their characteristics (large post, loading may take a little while). In this guest post, he talks us through the process of creating this list over the years and how gear has affected his photography. I think you’ll find Luca’s travel photographs really worth your time as well ! Happy reading, and thank you Luca. (all photos on this page copyright Luca Bevacqua).
Photography is not about gear, nor it should be. On the other hand, gear can get you into photography: and that’s all well and good.
For me the bait was my father’s camera: a shining Minolta SRT-101 with its ultra-sharp Rokkor MC 55mm f/1,7 lens. For years I wasn’t allowed to use it; when I finally grow up enough it was like receiving an heirloom. What a day!
This camera, by the way, still works flawlessly; the exception being the light-meter, weakened by an unfortunate fall many years ago and suddenly dead a bit later. And I know you’re all now thinking my father was right not letting me use it but no, it wasn’t me that dropped the camera!
Shooting with the shiny Minolta was only the first half of my ticket to the magic world of photography. For quite a bit all I recorded were family vacations and week-end trips.
To complete my transformation from happy snap-shooter to photographer I lacked technical knowledge. Enter the once best friend – man I feel old… – of every beginner: the magazine.
Because you remember magazines, these thing that used to be made of paper? Well, if you don’t 🙂 just know they were, in those sad and grim pre-Internet days, pretty much the only way to build a know-how in some specific, obscure argument like photography.
Yes, photography was an obscure, almost mystical process in those days; not like into the collodium and albumen prints days, but almost. Think about it this way: not only there weren’t camera phones, but mobile phones altogether were the size of a airline permitted hand baggage.
Well, one of those magazines is responsible for making me start diving seriously into photography: the August 1988 issue of “Fotografare”, to be exact. I stumbled on it while scavenging for something to read through one of my cousins’ stuff while visiting my aunt home. I read it; a big headache started because of all the technical jargon; and then boom: I.Was.Hooked.
And what’s the first sign you’re in love with photography? Yeah, right: you develop a bad attack of G.A.S. right away. For the non photographers, we are talking about Gear Acquisition Syndrome, not the smelly stuff!
A bit later and this list (of legacy 35mm lenses) was born. At first it was just a bunch of post-its. Little yellow things glued to a magazine page to remember something interesting I read into an article. The composition of a lens. Its size. Maybe some strange fact about the rendering of some optical scheme.
When the post-its didn’t cut it anymore a mighty Pentium 200Mhz PC came to the rescue, with its who-knows-what-now-forgotten-standard database program. Nowadays the pedometer I put into my shoes when I go for a run has probably more processing power, but hey, you gotta work with what you’ve got! Incidentally, this applies to photography/cooking/life as well – and you’re welcome for the trite piece of advice; this one came free, the next will be 50 bucks, thanks.
The list received the bigger boost to date when I got finally rid of most of my photo magazine collection – most: I kept the “Photo” issues. In that period I transcribed every relevant info into a, thankfully finally standard, spreadsheet. I know what you are thinking: how could I not get Shining-insane doing something so boring? All work and no play makes Gianluca a dull boy… Well, try to study trade law (yes, I was in law school at the time; biggest mistake of my life, that thankfully I rectified shortly thereafter). I can guarantee you’ll find pretty much every possible excuse to avoid cracking the books!
I gave the last touch to the table in the past months, when I realized that if I cleaned it up a little and made comprehensible for someone else, and not just me, it might have been useful to other legacy glass loving photographers as well.
Keep in mind that in it you will be certainly find some mistake, mine or of one of my sources. And most of all: please use it judiciously, because I’m told – and I also know all too well from experience – that staring at it for too long will cause without fault terrible attacks of G.A.S.! Happy shooting to everyone, and thanks to DearSusan for the hospitality.