Zoetrope made me buy a camera

by Steve Watson in May 2011
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I spent most of last Sunday reading the new issue of Zoetrope, and then I went on eBay and bought a camera.

The issue was designed by Mark Romanek (director of One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go), and the stories are punctuated by pages and pages of his photographs. He writes in his Notes on Design at the front of the magazine that he has being taking pictures since he was nine years old, when his dad bought him a Kodak Instamatic. That was followed a few years later by a Canon FTb, and later still his dad loaned him an old Ikoflex bought in Japan during the Korean War.

More recently Romanek has been taking pictures with his iPhone, and a favourite old camera:

“Recently I’ve fallen back in love with my cheap Pentax K1000, a fully manual 35mm SLR that’s seemingly incapable of making a bad picture. (You can find them on eBay for under $200.)”

It turns out that you can pick them up for much less than that, so I did. I haven’t got a clue how things like aperture and shutter speed work, but I’ve downloaded PDFs of an old K1000 manual and I’m ready to test that whole “incapable of bad pictures” thing.

But I’ll have to be careful. I can’t go running to eBay every time a charismatic director designs a new issue of Zoetrope. That could get expensive.

In the meantime, here are a few of my favourite spreads, to say nothing of some seriously excellent stories by Frances de Pontes Peebles and Keith Ridgway.

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