America with an Olympus 35 RC


Tags: #analog #hp5 #olympus 35 rc #travel

That's me. In the Hat. In 2005, just barely old enough to drink in US, I took off for a few months to roam around the US with a backpack, a copy of Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams, Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch and a 35mm Olympus RC camera. I was studying at art school at the time, regularly taking time off to play music and was fairly blase about taking pictures. These images mean far more to me now.

I picked up an Olympus 35 RC that I saw in the window of my local photograph supply store. I didn’t know at the time what a classic it was. I think I just couldn’t be bothered to bring an SLR. It turned out to be the perfect travel camera. Great little lens. Inbuilt meter that works with a modified hearing aid battery.

I flew into LA and shortly after bought a bought a Gibson B-25. I slept in hostels, wrote, read and sketched during the day. Saw music at night. The ostensible reason for the trip was to play at the Australian Festival with a music group from Canberra who somehow got in.

My interest in the music from the south turned into a full blown bluegrass obsession. After eating too much barbecue and smoking too many marlboro reds, which I could afford when beer was too expensive, I moved on to Washington, then to New York. Guessing exposure on bulb at an underground music venue where a woman called fancy stitch machine played heavy metal covers on a ukulele.

I by chance ended up at the finish line of the New York City Marathon in Central Park. This is still one of my favourite images. The characters. The unsuccessful composition.

There are more stories than I can clearly remember, and many more images that I never shot. And I consider myself so lucky to have been able to do this in the dawn before smartphones, untethered and free.