Chapter 94 of The Empty City

By Andrew Looney

Jim bought a camera.

It was not his first camera, but it was his first good camera. He had a little pocket instamatic camera, the simple little box with no controls other than the button you pressed to take the picture. It took OK snapshots.

But one day Jim decided to get a real camera, with real control mechanisms, such as an adjustable focus. So he bought a completely manual camera, a big black 35mm machine. It had a huge lens, which, he was surprised to discover, was purchased separately from the camera body, and a big flash gun, also purchased separately. He acquired all of this, plus film and batteries, with money he'd been saving for no real purpose, and though it blew his entire bankroll, he was excited and pleased with his new equipment.

He took it all home and played with it. It seemed like an enormous camera, when compared to the little thing he used to stuff into his hip pocket, and it also seemed terribly fragile... but he figured he'd adjust to it soon enough.

He didn't put film into it right away, but instead walked around the Asylum, focusing on things, taking pretend pictures. He felt he had a lot of learning to do, learning how to focus, how to set the f-stop to allow the right amount of light in, how to get the film loaded, how to set the flash up properly, and so on. But he played around with it for awhile and learned the basics quickly enough.

Then he loaded it up with film, and shot the entire roll, again walking around the Asylum, shooting pictures of things. He took photos of different rooms, with different amounts of light and different settings of the camera. He went outside and took some daylight shots of the outside of the Asylum, and of the street.

When he'd finished off the roll, he went out to the local one hour photo developing shop and had the photos developed. On the whole, they came out pretty good, and Jim was happy with his accomplishments.

When he got home, he loaded up another roll and convinced some of his housemates to let him take their pictures. He photographed Pauline working on a sculpture and Lynda playing her sax, but neither of them was happy about the photo opportunities and they only put up with a few shots each. Wanda on the other hand said she'd be willing to pose for as many photos as Jim wanted to take as long as she got prints of them, and Jim soon figured out why. She insisted on changing into a different one of her tie-dyed shirts every few minutes. She obviously wanted the photos to record the shirts she made, but that was fine with Jim.

Soon Jim was back at the one hour developers, and again he was pleased with his results.

And so, over the days and weeks that followed, Jim took a lot of pictures and gradually developed some skill with his new camera.

Copyright © 1991 by Andrew Looney.

News Search Gift Shop Games About Us | contact us