Days of Art: Old Camera

Old Camera_MPHIX

I am reposting this piece, this time with soundtrack as it sounded in my head while writing. This poem is a satirical look at the young hip street photographers today and the mistakes they make in pursuing their photographic dreams.


This is a poem I composed in around 10 minutes. Inspired by a photo I took last year of a Daguerreotype camera in the London Science Museum. Narrated in my native Bermondsey London accent, it’s called: ‘Old Camera’.

Lest we forget our roots,
Get too big for our boots,
And think, “We’re all that”.
With our little biddy cameras,
Our phones and our gadgets,
Shooting up the streets,
Like a ninja on acid.
Where’d’you get that camera anyway,
Your analogue grandma,
Or the museum of hip?
Your hood round your Mickey Mouse ears,
DJ’d up and neck full of gear.
Man you’re a trip!
You have no idea!

Thinking you’re the next Bresson,
All pirouettes and punches,
And decisive leaps
Into moments uncharted.
Hip like dysplasia
From one click to the next,
Tilted in favour of generation X.
Magnum my arse
Monochrome and monotone,
Tone deaf to a world
Still alive and in colour,
Like your totally vivid grandad,
Who brought life to your mother.
Yeah him, with his big ol’ box,
And his funky glass plates;
His dedication and patience,
And a beard he earned, btw.
Cast-iron nostrils
Full of mercury and haste,
Flared in anticipation,
Of a conjurer’s dream,
‘Till something emerges,
All fantastical yet real,
A ghost of a ghost,
Captured between breaths,
Exiled from time,
At the photographer’s behest.

Lest we forget,
Young Obi Wan.
Take a deep breath
And enjoy the sun,
‘Cos it won’t last long,
Though your pictures might.
If you’re lucky,
If you’re humble,
If like Viv Maier you emerge from the rubble,
Unscathed yet unknown,
And fresh to new eyes.

So wipe the fingerprints from your lens,
And be prepared to wait.
See the art all around you,
And forget the fame.
Hold your breath,
Keep it still,
Target your subject,
And shoot to kill.

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