The Olympus XA Rangefinder; Dorothea Lange

Recorded on November 5th, 2016

One important thing to know about the original Olympus XA vs. the others in the XA series: The first XA (i.e. the “XA”, not the “XA1”), was the only one with a true rangefinder. The rest were either fixed-focus or scale-focusing systems. This is hugely important to know because it gives you precise control over what you want to focus on.

While reading the XA review and reprinted test report on the brilliant diaxa.com site, I saw this quote by Dorothea Lange:

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”

Wow. That’s what I find myself doing now. Noticing more stuff, thinking in a 50mm field of view even when I have no camera close by. So I looked for some more about her (she of the beautiful and haunting “Migrant Mother” portraits).

Here are some more of her quotes from PBS and Wikipedia:

“You put your camera around your neck in the morning, along with putting on your shoes, and there it is, an appendage of the body that shares your life with you. The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”

And:

“One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind. To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. I have only touched it, just touched it.”

And this one, which is the most challenging:

“It is not enough to photograph the obviously picturesque.”

I am a fraud!

blog comments powered by Disqus