Awaiting an imperfect shot

I’m getting a camera soon and it’ll be film because some of the reasons listed in this video. When Kirk Mastin talks about using a film camera, it reminds me a lot of why I’ve began to really like older cars. He mentions how with digital, you can just point and click repeatedly but you may never really learn how to use the tool “because there’s no commitment” as he puts it. And I agree. With cars, to a lesser degree newer cars, you learn what certain noises mean and eventually how they’re made. You can see almost everything just by getting under the hood or chassis. There’s a lot less to distract even a newcomer. It’s like a walking diagram — newer cars would have to have a lot of plastic casing removed before one could feel like they were looking at the parts themselves. That is, they’d have to remove a lot of plastic before they could see the car itself.

Cameras are a lot smaller and therefore much of the mechanical parts are going to be closer together and even hidden. But there’s still a simplicity to them that I find lost on more and more technology. In Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft, the same kind of connection with simpler, older motorcycles is noted throughout the book. It is harder and harder to feel any similar connection to newer objects, and it is harder for the individual owner to be a complete owner. They may have possession of the object for most of the time it is used or before it is broken and disposed of, but how well do they know it, how much can they fix it, or do they take it to a person to repair it?

I’m not saying we all should be repairing absolutely everything we own. But something has been lost if we can’t repair anything we own. Chesterton, as usual, puts it well. He makes use of the word “universalist” in the sense that they are capable of doing many things, a jack-of-all-trades kind of person, one who’s armed with just enough wisdom to do many things well.

What makes it difficult for the average man to be a universalist is that the average man has to be a specialist; he has not only to learn one trade, but to learn it so well as to uphold him in a more or less ruthless society.

As with much of Chesterton’s writing, a light notion of hatred for capitalism carries over into his words here. Our ruthless society indeed forces us into areas where we are limited by what will bring us money, what will help us survive. Becoming specialists, or experts, who are capable of primarily doing one thing very well and thereby securing work, we cannot learn how to do the many things around the home that our ancestors would have known or do know in the case of those living dead capitalism has declared superfluous.

We are here, ultimately, because we want to be here. Because we don’t want to go back to the Middle Ages, or at least the popular misconception of them; because we don’t want thrill to be replaced by the most laborious activity of rest; because we are not grateful enough for our living and dead forebears who suffered to acquire wisdom of their own; because we don’t mind that their wisdom will die with them; because we think tradition is a dead, not an arduous and fruitful, thing.

I am positively sure this is an age with no bounds between which it can set it’s hopes and aspirations. It is a time of life when humility is surely feigned nearly everywhere, but with the same passing air as manners and politeness. It’s a topic for a later date, but the way Liberals now speak of women and minorities is the most precisely pertinent example. There’s love and openness in the appearance of their words, but it doesn’t make them change in any way. They say they tolerate different viewpoints and want these or those people to be liberated, but only so that they may go on enjoying the comforts of privilege. Some go further, to be sure. Some actually do try to embrace poverty. But they are a rare lot.

Kirk really adds quintessential point when he talks about wanting pictures that are a “warm, imperfect, beautiful, deep image like it’s got a little bit of humanness to it.” I think in previous ages, because we were not effaced at every move by the wealthy and elite’s omniscient billboard showcasing their perfect lives, people had no choice but to admit no small degree of imperfection. Those who didn’t were indeed ridiculed the same way this age seems to laugh at anyone suggesting capitalism has only excess and superfluity to offer. People may now laugh at the idea that some person posits about wanting us to live with less, but those before us must have been tickled into a paralyzing guffaw when someone brought up the notion of getting and being so rich they could have anything they wanted.


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