After years of being told "no" to buying myself a 4x5 camera by she-who-shall-not-be-named, I felt the sweet taste of freedom in my newly estranged life.
Standing in Wing's Camera shop in none other than Atlanta, GA, I laid eyes upon a beat up Cambo SC with a Schneider 210mm f/5.6 Symmar-S. My heart started beating faster, my blood thickened.
"Is this, finally, love at first sight?" I whimpered under my shallow breath. Neil, a close friend, saw me break out into a cold sweat.
He leans in close, "You want it."
Without a voice of reason, I strike a deal with the shop owner. The camera is filthy and in disrepair, the lens sealed shut with its own mold. He knocks off $400 for this sweet puppy to finally find a home.
Of course, I take the bargain. Not a moment later, my new camera was strapped into my back seat and flying down I-85 to my humble abode.
A bottle of glass cleaner, leather repair, and a broken lens wrench later, I had a working 4x5 Cambo SC.
I wish I could sit here and tell you that once you buy a large format camera, all your GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) goes away, but it doesn't. It might even get worse. A few months and a wasted pack of large format E100 later, I bought myself a field camera as well.
I had moved to Chicago, IL, and in the local camera shop, Central Camera, I found my newest love. A Tachihara 4x5.
She. Was. Perfect.
Mahogany wood, brass sides, and pristine leather bellows, I had to have her. And so I put the charge on my credit card that has only lead to pain.
In my time here in Chicago, I have met other large format photographers! One named Imran, and one Sam. They helped me grow into my photography with large format, and we shoot often enough to look down upon those filthy 35mm boys.
We have shot the only Baháʼí Temple in North America, each other, and some other strange things.
When it costs a liver for every shot you take, you learn to really slow down and cave to your anxiety. "What if it shoots a blank?" It will.
It's not all bad though! As much as I tell people that size doesn't matter, there is nothing like whipping out this big boy next to another photographer and scoffing at their weak camera format.
Anyways, I am here to convince you all to try and get into large format photography. It might be my only hope at recouping the money I dumped into this fiery passion in the first place.
In the meantime, look at my pretty pictures I took!