Nostalgia Mexicana - Foto Rudiger & The S-3Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Happiness for me (or at the very least one of the forms of happiness) comes with a good model that I can photograph for a private project. As a commercial photographer (that I am), unless I also have a private and personal project going, my job could become predictable and humdrum. Imagine the happiness of not only finding one good model but of finding two! I have two projects in the works with two fantastic models. What makes my new models unusual is that both are good photographers in their own right. I have experienced this before with Patrice.
With Ms Hernandez, who hails from León, Guanajuato, Mexico I have finally found the perfect subject to continue on my project of nostalgia. I have done a whole series with Linda Lorenzo. Now I can continue with the subject except that it will be Mexican nostalgia.
The picture here is fresh from a hurried drying of the wet negative (I shoot film) in my darkroom. It represents the first of many nostalgias that Ms Hernandez and I will cook up in our colaboración. Since she is a photographer I thought she would manage to find a way of conveying my nostalgia for a camera that I purchased (used) at Foto Rudiger in Mexico City, on Avenida Venustiano Carranza, in 1963. It still works but I stopped using it professionally around 1985. It is an Asahi Pentax S-3 with a coupled CDS light meter which you can see here mounted on top of the camera. Even in 1964 the "professional" black finish had begun to rub off and expose the beautiful brass underneath. This camera unlike my Pentacon-F had that light meter and a Japanese innovation called the instant return mirror.
Before I bought this gem I had haunted the Monte de Piedad (the National Pawnshop) near the Zócalo (main square) in Mexico City. There I had admired the Mirandas, the Nikons, the Praktinas and Prakticas, the Edixas and the Exaktas and a slew of other brand names that are long gone. These jewels behind the glass screens were mostly overpriced and the men behind would look at me most seriously when I would enquire about holding them. I finally settled for that S-3 and I remember dealing with a kindly German man who spoke Spanish with almost no trace of an accent. Could it have been Mr. Rudiger himself?
That S-3 traveled to Argentina, Brazil and Europe with me. I can and could make shutter and f-stop settings without looking. My S-3 became part of me. Seeing in Ms Hernandez's hand and how she deftly wrapped the strap around her wrists brought joy to me this morning.
I look forward to many more Mexican nostalgias.