2022.01.21 BLOG

The Fascination of Small Cameras

It has been fifty-five years since I first seriously started photography at university in 1967. My first camera was a Pentax SP. The size of this camera became a benchmark for me. Small size and light weight were essential for snapshooting.

I had my first cameras when I was in elementary school, starting with a plastic camera, then a Fujipet, and finally an Olympus Pen S. I never thought of becoming a professional photographer then.

When I was deciding which university to go to, I thought for the first time that I would make a living as a photographer, partly because my father was a newspaper reporter. The only photographers I knew then were Ken Domon and Robert Capa.

When I entered university, I got to know about many photographers. I was drawn to photography that was not journalism.

After working as an assistant to a famous photographer, I made my debut as a freelance photographer in 1975.

I don't know how many cameras I've owned since then. All for my work. From instant cameras, compact cameras, to large format 8x10 cameras. I've used a variety of cameras in different formats, because the size of the format dramatically changes the way the image looks.

To be honest, I make photographs in a rather detached way. I always think there is a gap between what I see and what the camera captures. There are times when cameras photograph things as I imagine them, but never once do they capture them as I see them. That sense of discomfort may have been the appeal of photography for me.

In 2005, the first full-fledged compact digital camera, the GR Digital, was released. But I didn't jump on to it right away. The GR1s, which I had been using until then, was a camera with a compact body that could be used with the same 35 mm film as SLRs. The GR Digital, however, was a camera with a small sensor, similar to the compact digital cameras that were already widely available at the time. I hesitated to use it.

At that time, I was selecting snapshots that I shot between the ages of 18 and 26, from the time I started taking pictures seriously to the time I became a professional photographer, in order to publish a photobook titled "Ano hi no kare ano hi no kanojo 1967-1975 (Boys and Girls of That Day)". In the book, there were many pan-focused photos using the Tri-X at ISO 400. The moment I realized that, I jumped on the GR Digital.

In 2013, the long-awaited GR with an APS-C sensor was released. Finally, an era for compact cameras of the same standard as the film-based started, and in 2018, the GR III became more compact.

The latest GR IIIx has the same angle of view as the 40mm equivalent tele-conversion lens that was once an option for the GR Digital. It now has a true standard lens, not a wide one.

I'm excited to see how this new camera will record the world.

*model:Azusa Takaku (artist)
Becomes a freelance photographer in 1975.
Active in many genres such as advertisement, fashion, show business, nude, documentary etc.
Currently supervises CRP- digital photo book production.

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