The Travelling Camera

I spend a fair (unhealthy) amount of time on 4chan, in particular the photography board: /p/. Most of the time it’s just people harshly judging each other, making too many threads about gear and not spending enough time out actually shooting. It’s not a place you go to see well constructed posts filled with good information, or people who will jump at the chance to help a new photographer out. Despite this there have been, and still are, many talented and photographers on the site who make it worth wading through all the terrible crap to find.

Every now and then the community will rally around someone who organises some sort of interesting project that they can participate in, whether they be weekly photo challenges, Photobooks or the most recent that I participated in: A Travelling Camera.

The premise is simple: Take a cheap camera, a handful of film and send it around the world for members of the community to shoot with. With everyone shooting with the same camera means everyone is going to be more or less even in terms of gear and makes the differences in talent more apparent. It’s also kind of neat to be shooting with the same camera that everyone else is. There are a few things that can bring the project to a grinding halt, mostly involving the camera being either stolen or broken, but one of the benefits of using such a cheap camera is that (hopefully) the results of the project will be worth more to the participants than the camera itself.

The camera that was selected was an Olympus µ[mju:]-II, a neat little autofocus point and shoot that I was sad to see leave when I was done with it. In all of my wisdom, I decided that because it was only a simple point and shoot there was no need for me to read the manual. I worked out how to load the battery and the film easily, however the mju has a few quirks that caught me out. For example, when you open the lens door, turning the camera on, it will default to turning your flash on even in the middle of the day. The autofocus does not work through any sort of glass, as I found out several times.

Luckily, the time when I had the camera coincided with a monster truck show coming through Inverell, not something that has happened here as long as I remember. I managed to catch a few shots while there but I tried to get a decent spread of shots from all around Inverell that were a bit different from what I normally shoot, and I think I did OK with a couple of shots that I can’t wait to print.

All up I ended up shooting seven rolls of film for the project, from which I got about a dozen shots that worked out OK. I’m looking forward to what other people come up with.

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