Photography doesn’t always have to be about perfection, if it were most of us would have given up a long time ago, there is no immediacy to film and unlike digital there is more of a requirement to get the shot right in camera.
This isn’t one of those shots.
Some years ago I was trawling the Russian version of eBay for yet another Kiev 88 when I spotted an ad for an ugly little plastic camera with a slight bend to it, very much in the vein of the Nokia Banana phone made famous in the movie The Matrix, but predating it by many years.
The Belomo Etude was marketed as a beginner or toy camera and was produced in what I presume were large quantities in the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1989, at the vast sum of 20 Rubles it was too cheap to click on by, a meeting was arranged on a Moscow Metro station – very cold war – and 24 hours later I owned it with its equally as weird box adorned with a cartoon monkey.
Getting back to the apartment I discovered it still contained a roll of film so of course, I quickly shot all the remaining frames, very expired Svema 65, and headed into the darkroom with little or no expectation of getting anything usable.
Souped in Fomadon for an hour, I then hung it to dry and headed off out for the evening only to find on my return it had come loose from the peg and settled under a cupboard.
Dry, scratched, and covered in dust I rolled it up, put it in a shoebox, and promptly forgot about it.
Which brings me to today, several years later and I am finally scanning the shoebox archives.
It’s far too dusty for me to be bothered trying to clean it up but I feel it has a little something, cropped here to 6×6 from it’s original 6×45 format for no other reason than personal preference.
I haven’t used it since that day but maybe it is time I gave the Soviet monkey another outing.