When I look across the clutter of our spare room we call the library, my eyes frequently fall upon my 1930s-era camera. I should put that up for sale, I frequently think to myself. Oddly, I don’t even see everything else in the room, my eyes are drawn to the shining chrome.
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So I pick up the small object to move it aside and everything changes. For some reason, it just feels so good to hold: The same illogical reason why I purchased it years ago in the first place. There’s some satisfaction in just touching this quality object. A connection with the past perhaps?
The next evening, a conversation with my friend turns to this subject and I’m explaining the tail-chasing spin about this particular object of desire. Putting energy into thinking about simple, physical objects is sometimes an escape from the more difficult, abstract and unsolvable circles in our minds. And sometimes it is the cause of those empty circles as well. There is an appeal of minimalism here.
I pause for a moment and look at my friend, who has been through this before. He calmly says, “Dan, some things are simply nice to have.”
Somehow, that justified everything. Since then, I have put this object in the hands of the many people I meet. For a moment, there is an expression or appreciation that they are holding something solid and unique. “It’s built like a steam engine,” a new friend marvels. Sharing a small, simple moment of connection is something nice to have!
Collaborators, above: Jimmy James (in tee-shirt), Emily Wilde (finger framing), Tooby (model with orange hair), Geiko Toshimana & Maiko Fukuno arrangements by Maiko Net
Takis Astrodakis, a long time Leica Society member, talks about his perkonal quest:
“I was looking for a camera of the month and year I was born. Upon obtaining the camera, I wrote to the factory (Leica Wetzlar) who provided the date it was made, despatched and where it was destined.
“My pristine 1941 Leica IIIc camera was sent to occupied France, a Paris news agency.
“Then one camera just led to another.”
It’s been five years since I thought of clearing the room out and selling off more cameras. Nothing has changed, but I found joy in using 1930s Leica as a handsome prop.
What is your favourite or most interesting piece that you cannot justify owning? Perhaps Some Things are Nice to Have is enough.