Well, this should come as a surprise. I’ve been shooting with a Ricoh GRII again.
Yup, again (well only like ten photos so far, ha). My blog post- Why I Always End Up With Ricoh – is especially pertinent at these kind of moments.
The story goes something like this:
I had a GRII at the same time as I was starting to shoot film again. I really, really love shooting film. As you could probably see from my last post film is the part of photography that appeals to my soul.
The Ricoh part of photography – on the other hand – is the one that appeals to my brain.
It is an interesting thing and one that is tough to quantify. I don’t know what it is about using a Ricoh but it makes digital feel right to me. Admittedly, I feel somewhat similar about Fuji’s X100 (the original one). The Ricoh though, is the one that really “sings” to me.
So, to continue. I had sold this one to a friend. She used it for several months travelling through Asia, America, and Europe.
I originally sold it for two reasons:
1. I wanted to sell it before it broke my heart..
Ricoh’s were never known to be reliable. I have had several Ricoh GRs that all had some issue or another. I have had nearly 15 Ricoh digital cameras most of which ended up with lens problems or dust f$5kery. There is a meantime to failure about them that scares me. My Leica M3 on the other hand is from 1961 and still works like new. I know it won’t let me down.
Did I mention I have TWO Ricoh GR21s at home in a box because they are both broken.
Ricohs almost always break my heart. I love them to death.
It is a tough thing. I always feel I have a relationship with a Ricoh camera in the same way I do with an old car. Someday, it will invariably let me down but yet somehow I can’t help but love it just the same.
After re-buying my GRII from my friend after her trip I was worried about dust being on the sensor so I took the photo above (the one of the sky). On first glance I almost cried at seeing the two spots. Luckily upon closer inspection they are just fighter jets from the nearby Gunsan Airforce base. Thank the f%$k.
After all those countries there was no dust. I was shocked. The outside of the camera was fairly worn. So why no ill effects?
I think the key is the hood. Most of the dust seems to come in through the lens as it opens and retracts. Basically, when I originally got this one I cleaned the lens of dust and then put on the hood / filter kit (GH-3). The hood, stops most of the dust that might otherwise enter the lens from entering. I will always use one of these on any Ricoh GR from now on.
2. I end up not shooting with anything else..
Whenever I have a Ricoh I almost never use anything else. I don’t finish rolls of film because I don’t pick up my film camera as much. It isn’t a conscious thing as if I had to take one camera to my grave it would be the M3. It is the simplicity, I suppose. It is the fact that it takes no effort to carry, use, or store. It doesn’t become part of conversations like the Leica does.
It is kinda just there.
This might not seem a problem. Why not just shoot with the Ricoh? Well, the weird thing is I never feel like shooting with the Ricoh is intrinsically “fun.” As a photographic tool, it is probably the best out there for most of what I do but I never really feel anything when I’m using it.
It just sort of melts into the periphery.
Again, not really a negative. Actually, for sure this is more a positive. That being said, when shooting with my M3 I really enjoy myself. I feel happy even if the photos don’t turn out as well. It is a different sort of feeling. I feel involved in the process. I feel like my decisions matter a little more. I enjoy going home with a full roll and developing it with a beer or a glass of wine. It is certainly a different feeling.
All that aside, picking up the Ricoh from the table at dinner with my friend felt like picking up an old friend. It is extremely strange, in that, whenever I pick up any Leica M3 that isn’t my own beaten and battered one I don’t really feel anything. They AREN’T my camera. With a Ricoh, no matter who owns said camera or in what context I may be in every single one I pick up feels like a friend.
I suppose you’d call that an affinity. An affinity for a particular camera?
An affinity for a brand?
For a series?
This one will probably break my heart just like they all have done. Then, so will the next one.
And the next.
Iksan, South Korea.
As a side note, I am planning on starting print sales this month if anyone is interested please shoot me an email (jtinseoul @ gmail . com) or message me on my Instagram.