Hassle-Blad, my Blad….etc: A Tale of Photogluttony
I have a problem. I take too many pictures with too many cameras. The greatest, some of the greatest photographers that ever shot, shot often with one maybe two cameras. Then there are those of us who take as much pleasure in the pornography of diversity. Shutters that slap, others that click, focusing on ground glass, rangefinding with a split image, cameras with backs, cameras you can pocket….et al.
I should be editing right now. Really. My film, on which I have slaved many months, editing to all hours, even reshooting a scene late last night, is due next week. For real, I have to be done editing. But I’m writing this. I’m writing this about shooting those…those test shots up there. After years of being Hasselblad free, I basically reinstated my entire kit in one fell swoop in a feverish intoxicating binge on ebay the other night.
I have plenty of cameras which shoot 120, that shoot 6x9, 6x7, that shoot polaroid….but oh I guess strictly speaking I have no working camera that shoots square. Or was it that I simply missed a very fertile period during which I owned that Blad and lived in DUMBO, Brooklyn a few years back?
Or was I, am I, simply trying to fill the infinite chasm that is my wretched wanting soul. I’d prefer not to think the latter.
I had a dream. Not a dream that one day the races would be united or that world hunger would be abolished with the funds being used to arm the country or being used to search for the missing Malaysian aircraft. But I had a dream last night or early this morning that my Hasselblad arrived nicked and tattered, in absolutely terrible shape. I woke fast and cold but self-mollified: “He’s the best, most trustworthy seller on ebay.” It’s true I bought my last kit from him, he’s great, generous, communicative, his merchandise as described, and always in great shape.
The dogs are barking. The USPS carrier must be here. It’s 10:50 am, I’m still in bed, was editing until 4:30am…I’ll just let him leave the package. We have a deal that even if signatures are required for priority mail he’ll just leave it for me.
But I get a twinge, a pang. That package isn’t there is it? I go outside, slippers, pajamas, glasses….NO! A PINK STICKER! A GODDAMN PINK STICKER! I dread those thing, the post office always ALWAYS has a hard time finding my stuff when it goes back to them.
Fuck it, I’m gonna find him. Or her. Yeah, it can’t be my regular guy. There’s this other one. I don’t have a deal with her. BUT i left two notes last night with my signature: “Please leave all packages for Adam Goldberg.” I grab my keys, head out into blinding daylight in my sleep outfit wearing my too strong for sunny days thick prescription glasses and start scouring my neighborhood. Which way would she go? Almost immediately I find not her, but a carrier who says he thinks she’s up in the hills, so i go into a sprawling hilly neighborhood by my house, find another guy who’s sure she’s up there, that Richard (my regular guy) is always up there around this time, and still another carrier says my guy isn’t working today, and she described the young lady taking Richard’s shift. I drive around for an hour.
The dogs are probably shitting themselves – literally. I’m starving. After as much detective work I can muster, I give up. But as I’m about to hang a right on Los Feliz Bl. I spy a square white truck in my periphery; I turn. A USPS truck is parked more or less at an outlet that would dump you off from the hilly neighborhood purported to be my carrier’s beat.
I ask her if she delivers to my address. She does. And I sign for my stuff. I’m a winner. I mean, come on. I’m a winner.
Then spend most of the day decidedly not editing, really pissing (what’s left of) my future the toilet. I’m unpacking and testing all the components of this very modular photographic system. I’m shooting this, trying that, inspecting this, double exposing that… I told a friend that in spite of the details one must remember to track – don’t take the lens off unless it’s wound or it will jam the lens shutter (did that once today already) and a myriad of others technicalities – I am reminded also that there is something about the system that feels like the very essence of picture taking boiled down somehow. Perhaps not quite as cogently as a view camera, but in that vein.
But oh, like many of my dreams – both good and bad – last night’s came true, though not quite as heinously. The rubber focus grip on the 80mm is cracked and slips. But that’s what you get…when you get…and get….and get….