A is for Amateur Hour
A film retrospective
|Zach Margolis||Nov 20, 2019|
First, why a newsletter?
I’m making this newsletter because I want to switch things up from my current photo-sharing habits. Instagram is a fun platform, but there are two issues that I have with it:
I’ve boxed myself in: I only post photos taken from my phone (nothing from film or my standalone camera), and I try to maintain a particular aesthetic, so there’s no room for like, fun candid shots of friends or whatever.
Facebook is a garbage parent company and I don’t want them to make any more money off of me. I’ve deactivated my Facebook account, and this is a step to see what sharing photos might be like without them.
Anyways, off to the newsletter!
Who are you calling amateur?
Briefly, almost everybody. Myself included.
This first issue is a look back at shots from a specific camera: my Leica M3. It’s a hand-me-down from my dad, who in turn received it as a hand-me-down from a family friend when he was a teenager.
The M3’s rangefinder focus is little rectangle inside the viewfinder that needs to be lined up, different from the focus rings many SLRs have. On top of that, the lens needs to be telescoped out, which is easy to forget. Since it’s not an SLR, there’s no feedback on that from the viewfinder.
Here is a retrospective is of times that photos didn’t quite turn out as expected. They’re not complete failures: the framing and exposure were right, literally only the focus was off. In the immortal words of Bob Ross, “we don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents” right?
September 2016. Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, CA)
I had a day to myself while visiting my parents. I took the Expo line from their place in Culver to Santa Monica to walk around and take some photos. It was a gorgeous sunset, I was so excited to take a picture that I forgot to telescope out the lens.
August 2017. Key Bridge (Washington, DC)
I spent an afternoon in Georgetown with my friend Nicole and attempted to capture the bridge at Sunset. Clearly, I missed something.
When I ask friends to take photos of me with the Leica I get mixed results as well.
November 2016. White House Press Room (Washington, DC)
At the time, I was a White House green badge employee working for the US Digital Service in the last few days of the Obama Administration. A perk of having a green badge is that you can reserve tour slots and take people on tours of the West Wing. I went on a tour, and asked a coworker to take my picture.
August 2018. Green Chile Kitchen (San Francisco, CA)
I had a day off and met my friend Bora for lunch. I took her photo (it turned out just fine, thanks for asking). She offered to take my photo and I asked her, “do you know how to focus one of these?” “Definitely!” The door is very sharp.
Thanks for reading! There aren’t like or comment buttons, but I do appreciate feedback via replies! I hope you liked this, and see you next week!