In December of last year, my GH2 camera died inexplicably while returning to Minneapolis from LA.
The top photo above is the last one my camera took, at LAX airport. What occurred after this to cause the camera’s death? What happened inside the carry-on that sat at my feet unencumbered? It’s a mystery to me.
Some research led me to a potential repair via a replacement electric board in the camera. Seemingly, that’s what failed. I’ve decided to leave the camera on my shelf as a kind of burial and reminder of good times.
I sometimes take the camera from the shelf and turn the power dial in hopes of some magical reanimation of reversed entropy, but it doesn’t.
The second photo above is of my dead camera. Notice the grain and where the dark background seemingly merges with the camera foreground.
I shot the dead digital camera with an old but functioning 35mm SLR, a German-made EXA (I do understand that film cameras also fail and need repairs; someone should analyze life-lines of cameras). To me, it seems that film cameras last longer, mechanically and perhaps aesthetically.
I shot the second photo with expired film and tried to get proper exposure. Ah, but to no avail. But that’s also an excitement to film: the not knowing, the reliable indeterminable feeling of its process.
One can garner greater or lesser determinability of outcome via a chosen film practice. This usually boils down into categories of gear and technique: choice of new or old cameras, new or expired film, exposure, lenses, light leaks, treating the film emulsion or processing, etc.
What am I getting at? The death of a digital camera caused me to reflect upon and use the other format, of which I am choosing to use more often. This is not a write-up on the merits of film vs digital. I’m noting a transformation of routine, and it’s a pleasant change.