The quest for tactility

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No, the header image isn’t meant to be some abstract representation of touch; it can’t be, since physiological visual and tactile pathways aren’t the same. However, it is a demonstration of why we prefer object or image A over B when they are both conceptually similar (for example: one person over another; one car over another; one meal over another), and I suspect also why some things trigger certain responses in certain people – and moreover, why we are driven to seek out certain qualities of things over others. Today’s post is the distillation of some self-examination over the last year or so – I think I understand my own personal motivations better; hopefully you might take away something, too.

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Film diaries: The importance of hapatics and tactility, part two

Continued from part one.

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Some gratuitous camera p***, and one of the nicest cameras I’ve handled – the choice of materials is superb. Too bad the price puts it out of reach for all but the lucky few.

This article falls into the film diaries because historically, there have been many attempts to make cheaper versions of popular cameras – the M2, for instance, is supposed to be a cut-price and simplified version of the M3; the Nikkomats are another example. Yet none of these feel particularly poorly made or roughly finished; if anything, they still considerably exceed the perceived quality level of anything currently available new. Objectively speaking, my 1995 Hasselblad 501C is a pain to use: it’s large, heavy, only carries 12 shots, has serious mirror slap, has a reversed finder, requires a separate external meter (or very good eye), is a pain to reload, slow to shoot with, and an ergonomic disaster – yet somehow I just love making images with it because of the way it feels in the hand. The lens’ aperture and shutter rings move with distinct, clean clicks. The mirror and shutter sound feels positive and deep. The accessories detach and snap into place with solid, positive clicks and zero free play; there are no rough-feeling mechanical parts or actions, and the focusing rings (mostly) have precisely the right amount of damping.

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Film diaries: The importance of hapatics and tactility, part one

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Spot the odd one out of this bunch. (Hint, it’s not the M9-P because the image isn’t low-key, or because it’s the only Leica in a bunch of Nikons.) It’s also not the F2 Titan because it requires no electrons to operate. Let’s try another set:

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