You, me and Akanée. That is how today is going to happen.
We are going on a camera walk so I trust you are prepared, you brought your favorite camera, even though it felt like cheating right before you walked out the door.
Worry not, every camera has its temper and also its favorite scenery.
The one you brough today?
Akanée began photography in the most natural way, because she “Just thought it would be some fun. Back in 2001 when I began surfing on the net I got to know a man who uses the LOMO LC-A and the SX-70. Both were new to me. I loved his photos and the cameras so I got my first camera: LOMO LC-A. I felt like I was a small child who was given her first toy. All I took with the LC-A was my cats, the sky, and some little things around me that caught my eyes. I just pressed the shutter release button without thinking about the angle or the exposure. I had a fun start with the LC-A.”
“But soon I started to feel unsatisfied with it; I wanted to see unfamiliar things and to see familiar things in a unfamiliar way. So I traveled abroad for the first time (to Taiwan and Saipan) and after that I bought a single lens reflex camera (CONTAX Aria). Next thing was, my cameras swelled in numbers!”
This seems to be a common occurrence with photographers yes? Something about an image touches us and we feel that getting the camera is like a connection to the human being behind the story. And soon we feel the desire to get a second camera, to experience more, to feel more.
Either through her images, her words or her self, Akanée makes a strong presence, in a way, it’s like she has gathered the power of all the world’s cats and has become a super hero.
When you see cats through her eyes and go out into the world, its like every cat is a connection to her.
Every pause they make, every second they allow you to witness.
“I took a lot of photos at cafes and shops, during my travels, sakura & momiji (autumn foliage) photos, but I’ve come to realize I am more attracted to natural elements than lovely-decorated shops. And in particular playing with and taking photos of cats is what I love the most.
So naturally there have been more and more of cat photographs on my Flickr page.
I just love the feel to the film and the simplicity of old cameras. Well, I see a lot of wonderful digital photos and I think it doesn’t matter at all whether you use film cameras or digital cameras for a photo to be a good one. But I just don’t love photographs with artificial effect and can’t get into using digital cameras myself.”
She turns to me and asks if I prefer digital over analogue.
It feels like a trick question, I use mobile as a daily journal and digital for moments when the “fast result” is required but still, I have a sweet spot for my Diana. It’s that fragile look of her.
Don’t tell my Pentax I just wrote that.
“I love LOMO LC-A, my first bought camera, but it doesn’t work right very often. So nowadays I use the “Cheki”, Instax mini 90 (That is one cute camera!) instead though the format is very different especially the instax is an instant camera and the LC-A has more contrasty images.
But I think both camera are similar because they don’t require me to think, just to shoot.
I also like using the Rolleiflex. Mine is a low-end model, but I enjoy views through the square finder, which makes familiar scene look a bit different, the small world in the viewfinder looking lovelier or sometimes reflecting my feelings more.
Almost every time I go out, whether for shooting or for other purposes, I take three of my cameras: the Cheki, the Rolleiflex T, and one single lens reflex camera, CONTAX S2 or BessaFlex TM. (Sometimes I add the SX-70, my other loved camera, but I haven’t really taken to the IMPOSSIBLE film, it has fewer parts to play recently)
If I feel like walking light or being calm and concentrating on shooting still life, I decide to bring just one camera, but very often I can’t be determined, so I take some cameras just in case.”
Ah yes, photographer’s issues. Which camera to take.
We go about books as she mentions her favorite authors, two of which are also on my favorite reading list, “I like Banana Yoshimoto. The one I read the other day, which a friend of mine recommended me to read knowing I lost my mother, was “Sweet Here After”, and it did help me a lot during the hardest days.
It was an understanding, lovely story.”
Akanée is a very quiet human, on more than one occasion she has referred to herself as “usually not an energetic type but the photography opens up the window of the mind to let fresh air in.” and this is something that resonates deeply in my soul.
It’s a magical walk, the one we sunk in, the air flows just right and the light is exactly how it should be.
Birds are chirping on this summer day as we walk through the streets, the sound of our footsteps become as one as we find stray cat after stray cat, each one with their personality.
“I am always surprised or moved to see the film developed, especially when the results (of cat photos) are better than expected. But almost always the captured objects are not as good as real ones. In that sense, I’m surprised by the power or beauty of real things, whether it’s cats or nature.”
Why do you take pictures?
“Hmmm, maybe it’s just because it’s there. I suppose the photography is a way of detaching myself from various things and at the same time it’s my way of talking with the other(s) across the view finder. And it has enforced my view on life that things are there to be accepted just as they are and that I can’t get anything nor have anything to my liking. All things change and die so the moment of the encounter is important.”
So we walk, we walk towards the bright light as the sun sets, reminding us its time to go.
But come back tomorrow. And the day after.
Come here when you feel like it.
I do hope this has inspired you to get a new camera, see cats (and life) in a different angle or give film another chance, but mostly, that it inspires you to go out.
The world is out there.
Now go outside and click.