Friday, July 04, 2008

Cameras and Capitalism

I know it's daft. My Kodak 66 was made in the early 60s, and it's a very nice camera, from a simpler age. But Kodak is an avowed friedmanite greed beast now, and the name makes my hackles rise.

Or maybe it's not so daft. The subtext of getting away from a DSLR and into old Russian rangefinders and odd cameras that you'll find on eBay or in a charity shop is an anti-capitalist one. You buy a bottom of the range DSLR and you're in danger of being sucked in. I was, nearly: fantasizing about getting something reassuringly expensive. There'll always be something in development by The Company, more megapixels, more functions... And you've paid good money for the glass you can use, so they've got you by the pocket, perhaps for life.

But you buy an old camera, and the capitalist has been and gone, he's not making anything out of this one. (Well, paypal make a buck or two. And if you buy it in a charity shop, you're fueling the NGO gravy-train. But that's the way we live now - capital is almost impossible to avoid).

And in deciding to get all my film from Ilford in the future, I've got no illusions. The company was the subject of management buy-out - so the bosses stay in charge. But at least they're bosses who turn up in the car park every-morning, rather than a bunch of coke head bastards in Wall Street, for whom working people are just numbers in a balance sheet.

Likewise, I've got no illusions about the former Soviet Union, either, where my FED2 started its existence in a factory alleged to be manned by criminal labour, and which bears the initials of the founder of the KGB.

So I admit my arguments are fag paper thin, but give me the suits of Mobberly in Chesire, and the gangsters in the Kremlin over the Chicago School world rapists. Not much of a choice, I'll grant you. But it's a choice I've made. So the poor old Kodak has to go, perhaps to someone who cannot see a political metaphor in photographic equipment.

Or something.