I was wrong.
My heavily used Canon EOS SLR was on its last legs, so I bought what I assumed would be my last-ever 35mm SLR camera - a Canon EOS Elan 7e with a battery grip that I packed up and took with me on an assignment to cover a trade fair in Peru. It was a fantastic trip that took me from Lima to Cuzco in less than 12 hours and to Macchu Picchu in less than 24 hours.
It was a great way of getting to know my new camera and, along with a Holga I also slipped into my bag, I ended up doing some very happy shooting, coming home with an x-ray-proof lead envelope full of film.
|Macchu Picchu, 2003|
I began my career as a photographer just after I dropped out of college, when I suddenly found myself with a little bit of money and a lot of time on my hands. I grew up a few blocks from the (now-demolished) Kodak factory in Toronto, where my family had worked since the '20s, and was inspired to start taking pictures when binge-reading Evelyn Waugh led me to pick up a book of Cecil Beaton's photos from a remainder table.
|Waugh by Beaton|
|the analog wall|
The analog wall not only divides my career where a technological change transformed my industry, it also demarcates the place where I changed from a photographer who occasionally wrote to a writer who's handy with a camera. Somewhere in that borderland is a moment when making a living as a photographer became an awful lot harder than it was before, and over a decade later I'm still reeling from the changes that moment unleashed.
Mostly, though, it's time to climb that analog wall and see what's behind it. I turned 50 this month, and it seems time to look at what I accomplished in the full flush of youth and energy and ambition and see if any of it is worth a damn.