The History of Photography: 1974

by Matthew Cole
1973 The 1970s 1975

Looks Ok to Me
Know Your Equipment: Years later, in an SEC application, I would refer to my change of jobs from MacDonalds to K-Mart as a "career move". Hey, I made $2.00 an hour! Sold Miranda Sensorex EEs, Petris, Minolta ST-101s and the fine Focal lenses, one of which I soon bought. Here I'm screwing around at work. I look at this now and think, damn, should have cut off and kept some of that hair! Oh well.

Ahh! My first SLR! I get a Fujica ST-801, black. More professional looking, you know. Two hundred and forty five bucks with the 50mm f/1.8 Fujinon EBC lens, mail ordered. Owning this camera has left me enduringly suspicious of Fuji film cameras so that the only one I have any desire for is the Fuji 617 and I doubt I'll soon have the five grand it takes to buy one of those with a lens. The ST-801's shutter speed knob self-disassembles the night before we go on vacation, and I have to figure out how to fix it myself using Super Glue, something I end up doing routinely over the next couple of years. However, the meter is one of the first with LED display and silicon cells (versus the needles and CdS cells commonly used at the time), which is nice, and the Fuji EBC coated lens is sharp and contrasty.

Get job at K Mart in the Camera department. We sell Minolta, Petri and Miranda. Also have a Kowa medium format camera for some reason. We idle away the slow hours disassembling MagiCubes and throwing the bulbs at each other. Do it right and they flash. I buy a Focal (K Mart brand(!)) 135 f/2.8. Take lots of cheap slide film in Toronto where I roam all over with my studly camera and variable-legged tripod. President Nixon resigns. Buy Bell & Howell slide projector with the efficient cube storage system. Back in school, I discover it's way cheaper to learn this stuff on someone else's film, join yearbook staff. Bulk-loaded Tri-X and existing light are our mainstays, develop some minimal competence in black & white darkroom work. Spend hours poring over microscopic-type ads in back of Modern Photography. During this period it is felt that knowing photography means being conversant in all the latest Modern Photo tests of fast Agfa slide films. By this definition, I am well-informed. More experiments in movie making are facilitated by the local K Mart's bountiful supply of outdated Focal Super 8 movie film.

More Photo Hints from 1974

Use Your Flash to Freeze Action!
Use Your Flash to Freeze Action! Having acquired electronic flashes (Steve's Vivitar 91, my Vivitar 152), we set about exploring some of their abilities. One was to freeze action. Here we've indulged in one of our youthful pasttimes; buying a Shasta Draft Root Beer at Linn's Supermarket and kicking it all the way home to open it and see how far it squirts. You could do things like that back in those days when men were men and beverage containers were steel. Those cans made good tennis ball cannons, too. Anyway, we went in Steve's back yard, set up, opened up and here we go! I don't actually know whose camera this was even taken with. It might even be from 1973. photo by Steve O'Brien
Demand Only The Finest Optics
Demand Only The Finest Equipment: It was so exciting to get my first extra lens, a Focal 135mm f/2.8. Wow! Such telephoto power! And a K-Mart brand lens brings so much to the table that your average Nikon or Canon lens can't match, such as the artistic flare patterns around my sister seen in this photo. Yeah, I'll bet your lenses won't do this! The Finest Equipment idea goes for bikes, too. A couple of years later, while riding this bike at college to class, the bolt holding the handlebars to the fork broke, I crashed instantly and broke off and/or out three of my upper front teeth. Ouch!Fujica ST-801, Focal 135mm f/2.8, film unknown

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