Seeing Things From Behind A 40 Year Old Lens

“The camera doesn’t matter – the eye does,” says the anonymous, blurred person who speaks only in my hazy memory. This is a quote heard by millions of photographers, possibly in a million, different, often misquoted ways. They all seem to drive a point, however: that the camera is only a tool that is as good as you are able to project your visual ideas and images with.

To test that ubiquitous theory, I recently purchased a 40-year-old lens, after a convincing demonstration from a friend and coworker. This one cost a fraction of what newer lenses charge, thanks to age and time working in my favor. I immediately bought the lens from a second-hand online store, along with a cheap adapter for my Canon 60D (which in itself, is an aging camera, according to every photographer ever).

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The Setup

I had to admire the lens for a while as it came out the box a few days after. Here was a creation that stood the wear and tear of 40 years, through time and space, that landed on my pale, white desk of mine. I will never know the story it went through, or how many hands have grasped and pulled its aging handles, or how beautiful the pictures that were taken by many eyes and clicks of the shutter. These things, it seems, I can only wonder.

So to stop wondering, I decided to test this gizmo of mine on a trip to Bandung, in West Java.

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A visit to a limestone processing factory in Bandung

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Before lifting heavy rocks

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Empty

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On standby, without workers

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A local-favorite. Kue ape

I immediately noticed a few things: how sharp the images were, how different the colors appeared, and how hard the lens was to operate! Here was a photographer, so used to modern marvels such as auto-focus and exposure compensation, receiving a vintage welcome from his own camera. It was a bare-bones experience, having to manually set the aperture and the focus ring every time I had a subject in frame. But it was eye-opening, as it was unfamiliar

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Visiting the night street market

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Look at all those chickens (y’know, that one vine)

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Famous Martabak Andir

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Coincidentally, the man behind the stall has been making Martabak for 40 years

The lens worked wonders in night time, thanks to its wide 1.4 aperture. The images managed to stay crisp as well. It was hard to focus, though, without the automatic function I was so used to having.

And then there was this certain dreamy character to the bokeh, as the blurred edges of the images never seem to stay symmetrical and perfectly round. Yet the depth of the areas that were in focus almost seemed that they can pop out, like a cutout character from a story book. This lens, and its images, are a trippy piece of work.

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A self-portrait that ‘pops’ out (taken by a good friend of mine, Moses – @moosesronaldo)

I felt responsible to show what an old, jaded lens can do, since this is my first lens I bought with my own savings. And it to see how much it has gone through, it’s an honor, in a strange kind of way, to own something that has its own mysterious story.

So, I do think to dismiss a cheap and aging piece of technology would be a tragic story to tell. I think something like this offers a portal to see the peculiarities of imperfect items of yesteryear; a sort of back-to-your-roots experience. With all the new technology coming to our screens and doors in 2018, it would be nice to step back and recall on older things that we haven’t explored. Here’s me just starting out into that journey, and with good intentions, I ask that you come along too.

Jeloy. (@je.loy)

 

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Meet The Contributors!

I’ve told you that we have new things coming, remember? So this is it!

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I’ve always known from the first time The Perks of Being Twenty was still in the form of a mere idea hovering somewhere inside my head, I didn’t want to create just another project, or another blog. I wanted to create a platform that speaks to 20 something covering the area of lifestyle.

However, the context of lifestyle that I have in mind is slightly different than what most people would commonly interpret in their head. For me, lifestyle is not only about traveling every month taking a good photo of your feet on a sandy-floor, or working from the newest coffee shop in your town, or wearing the current outfits and putting the OOTD hashtag in your caption.

Lifestyle for me, especially during the twenty-something season, also includes doing random kindness to others, being the sort of friend who is keen to give honest opinion, fighting with perseverance to pursue your dreams, not settling for peer pressure and going boldly in life to make things happen. That sort of thing.

Entering the second year of running TPOB20, I’ve decided to share my vision to other 20 somethings who share the same vision and also able to communicate them in the form of writings. Besides, I’ve been reading lots of books and hearing lots of podcasts from inspiring world class leaders. They all believe that one of the keys to building something impactful and long lasting is by having a strong collaboration with others who are on the same page with you. That’s when this whole contributor thing came into the picture. Gratefully they all agreed to step into this platform.

So starting from now, you will not only read what I think about living the 20 something season to the fullest, but also from this awesome friends of mine. Now, let me introduce you to them!

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Jeloy Tirie (@je.loy) a photographer and occasional wanderer, who is in the search of honest stories, work, and people. The guy who shares the resemblance of Spock thinks that he has a pretty gnarly name given by his parents, and still unsure what they were thinking when they had him.

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Levina Christy (@levchristy), has just entered the 20 something season last January. She is now studying in Melbourne, Australia in the mission of completing her bachelor in the fashion business. Having her parents building a non-profit organization called Yayasan Pemulihan Indonesia, which focuses on setting up free kindergarten schools for poor villagers all across the country, ignited her passion in humanity and environment.

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Patrishiela Tan (@patrishiela), an Indonesian model who loves to eat and travel. She is now hosting a TV Show, “Para Petualang Cantik” on TRANS7. She always  make time for travel, because for her, “Earth is too beautiful to be wasted and not enjoyed.” Apart from that, this beautiful lady who turns out to have such a unique sense of humor, is still on the run of finishing her Bachelor Degree.

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Rachel Saputro (@raesaputro), a girl who is passionate about storytelling – whether in producing a documentary film for class or writing news pieces at Voice of America’s Washington D.C. bureau. She is now studying Economics, Journalism and Film at The George Washington University, which often makes people give her confused looks. Rae hopes to return to this country after graduation and work in the intersection of media, business and technology.

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Sarah Callista (@callistasarah), a passionate writer, a wife and a constant day dreamer. Her adoration for writing sparked when she was 13. It’s like inhaling and exhaling oxygen for her. Words are more than just alphabets and phonetics, it’s a realization of what’s within us. So, if you happened to stumble upon her writing, you shall say hello to her imagination.

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Sasha Tjie (@sashatjie), a sunset lover and beach aficionado who claims to have writing as her number one passion. After graduating from the Bachelor of Arts (Creative and Professional Writing) from Deakin University, Australia, she is now enjoying her role as a creativepreneur in fashion / wedding industry who runs a gown rental boutique. Next month, she will publish a book called “Soul Travellers: Turning Miles into Memories” with a goal to inspire the young generation of Indonesia to travel further.

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Sofia Layanto (@sofietyger), a thinker and a writer with a desire to build things. She is currently doing strategy at one of the largest tech startups in Southeast Asia, and would love to meet anyone who’d like to know more about the scene. She believes that we should all engage with the world in a meaningful way, and can be found working on side projects anytime she’s not actively chilling or planning getaways.

Many believe that seven is a lucky number. Is it a coincidence that TPOB20 has a great set of 7 passionate 20 somethings who are on their own race, running towards their purpose and dreams? I don’t know. What I know is, starting from today, this website will be colored with a lot of inspiring thoughts and content dedicated to you, who are still in what so I call, the prime season of life.

Write to you later!

HG. (@gersonhenry)