Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dark branches and "44 Inch Chest"

Someone implied that I needn't annotate my photos. He made that reference in regard to a driftwood sequence. Maybe he was right and yet it sometimes it seems important to add words to photos. Maybe a viewer will resent being told what to see, but that isn't my intention. My intention is to explain what I saw when I took the photos -- and why I took them.

I didn't annotate any of the photos I took today, but I'll make some comments about them now. When I took them I was drawn to their darkness, to the shadowy reaching of the branches. Only later did I notice that their darkness matched my mood. I have been enjoying everything I've been doing in regard to photography recently, but that has changed.

I wanted an E-1 that was going to live up to its reputation. The one I first bought looked as though it might not do that; so I gave it to my son -- along with enough lenses and other supporting equipment to keep his handyman interest. And I bid on and won an E-1 that the buyer declared to be in "mint" condition. But when I got it, I could only make it work in Manual mode. Autofocus only worked intermittently. No big deal, I thought, I'll send it off to the Olympus Service Center and get it tweaked. I gulped when they said they had a flat rate for the E-1 of $165.00 but sent them a check. They sent it back and said the repairs were more expensive. They would need $259.92. At that point I felt a line had been crossed. The camera represented as "mint" obviously wasn't if repairs were going to cost $259.92. In other words, it was going to cost $259.92 to put the camera in the condition the seller said it was in when he sold it to me.

The seller told me he is not going to pay the repair bill. He said I should have sent the camera back to him. I quoted from Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure in which he compares a modern digital camera to the cockpit of a 747. He, though an expert in photography, finds these cameras intimidating. As for me, I suspected I had something set wrong on the E-1 and kept trying to make it work properly. Finally I compared it to the other E-1, the one I was giving to my son, the one which did work properly. I changed all the settings on the new E-1 to match the old one. It still wouldn't work properly; so I sent it off to the Olympus Service Center. No, no, the seller later told me. I should have sent it back to him. But what would he have done with it, I wondered, since it wasn't a functioning camera? Would he have sold it to someone else? I can't think why else he would have wanted it back.

He said he couldn't afford to pay the $259.92 repair bill but if I had returned the camera and he had refunded my money he would have reimbursed me more than that. I paid $340.00 plus $30 shipping for this E-1 and a Sigma lens (which doesn't work that great either).

The seller says he is going to throw himself on the mercy of eBay, but I am pessimistic about the outcome. However, this isn't a major calamity and I'm sure to get over it in a few days, especially if Olympus returns the E-1 to me telling me it is now in mint condition. I shall try and forget that I paid twice as much for it as I should have and just enjoy it as it is. I read on Olympus forums how devoted Olympus users are to their E-1s. Perhaps one day I shall be in that category and utterly have forgotten the unpleasantness of this transaction.

In the meantime, I was drawn to the dark twisting, wringing and wrenching of the branches -- at least for today, and probably tomorrow, but we shall see.

I watched 44 Inch Chest last night. Ray Winstone plays Colin Diamond who has more reason for depression than the loss of $259.92. His wife has left him for a younger man, a waiter. His gangster friends kidnap the waiter and take him to an abandoned building where the tie him to a chair and have a hood over his head. Diamond agonizes over whether to kill him or not. His friends are all urging him to do it, perhaps even kill his wife as well. Diamond is a slow thinker, but he works his way through all the ramifications and eventually lets "Loverboy" go. One of his gangster friends standing asks, "and are you letting your wife go as well?" And after a moment he nods. In the last scene Diamond is walking down a dark street away from the building with a spring in his step.

In retrospect, I probably watched that movie for the same reason I photographed the dark dried branches of the trees today. I'm not as depressed as Diamond was, but I'm working through my problem in the same way he did. The stakes aren't as high and maybe all it is going to take is for me to describe what happened a few times for me to be done with it. But at the moment the seller is in front of me, in a chair, with a hood over his head.


Lawrence Helm said...

If the lady who turned me in to the anti-terrorist task force for carrying a gun at the river to protect my dogs against feral dogs (in 2008) happens to read this, I do not literally have the seller in front of me with a hood over his head. I intend this to be taken as a metaphor.

Anonymous said...

A great and funny metaphor. LOL. Enjoyed the read and sorry about your travails. You are a good sport and it will pass. I loved the dark and somber trees...except they, to me, just looked very much like ancient beings. The one with the big bottom is amazing. Do you happen to know what it is? Tis me...S.