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In this digital age, we forget that not so long ago, we were all analogue – music, photography, TVs that showed just TV channels via an aerial, not used for browsing the internet, cars that didn’t need to be connected to a computer to tune! I miss those times … to a point.

I have an iPhone (just got a ‘6’), a digital camera (Nikon D5000) an iPad, Mac, smart TV yada, yada, yada, but I still have a yearning for the non-digital world. So I did something about it.

Gone retro with photography!

I have  been a (really bad!) photographer since my late teens. My first camera was a
Zenith ‘B’.

My first SLR

My first SLR

The Zenith, a wonderful product of the USSR, but quite capable and I actually took some half-decent pictures with it. I then progressed to a Praktika MTL3, another East European gem and a very good camera.

My next SLR after the Zenith

My next SLR after the Zenith

And finally I acquired a Canon AE-1, the pinnacle of photographic technology that I could afford at the time on my £60 a month salary – good times!

My last non-digital SLR

My last non-digital SLR

But I had always desired a Canon A-1, in its day, the most advanced prosumer camera available, the first fully programmable SLR and way beyond my budget! So the other day, I bought one from eBay for less than £70, I added a zoom lens as well so now have the non-digital camera outfit I always wanted.

My ‘new’ camera, retro-fantastic!

It was strange loading film into the A1 – I’m so used to slotting an SD card into my camera, ready to take over 600+ shots – and knowing I’ve only got 24 shots on this film roll, it will make me think much more carefully about subject matter & composition of my shots.

I took the A1 out to a local beauty spot yesterday to take some (no doubt really bad) shots. I even used a tripod; I felt like a real photographer again! It’s odd having to get used to not being able to see the pictures straight away! I’m actually looking forward to the anticipation, and subsequent disappointment as well no doubt, when I collect the developed film from Boots.

And with music too!

This post isn’t just about analogue photography though, oh no!

The digital age has spawned the iPod, streaming music and digital downloads and accessing our music this way is the new normal. But vinyl has always hung on gamely in the background. Ages ago I got rid of my record collection – no singles, I was too much of a music snob, just LPs for me!


Back to the ’70s (just the 1970’s!)

Then the other day in conversation with family, it transpired that there was a box of LPs in storage in the back of a cupboard as well as a turntable! I was all a tingle!

Opening the gate-fold sleeve of Hawkwind’s Warrior On the Edge of Time, gingerly sliding the black vinyl out of it’s protective inner sleeve, checking the disc for scratches, scuffs, dust then placing it on the platter, setting the needle at the start and Wham! Back to the 70s!!

I spent the evening reminiscing with Hawkwind, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, T-Rex, Elton John, et al, accompanied by skips, jumps and plenty of exercise getting up to turn the records over – as opposed to my iTunes library which would take me nearly 100 days to listen to non-stop! There’s something warm and familiar to listening to vinyl; digital music can sound too clinical and precise sometimes – I didn’t realise I missed the hisses, clicks and jumps!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my modern tech – would be interesting setting up a record player in the car – but a dose of retro photography & music is wonderful.