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  • Tom Mills

Photography personality types

Visited my parents over the weekend to celebrate my mother's birthday. With my family, there are no gatherings that don't include someone taking out a camera to record images of the occasion. The photographers are usually my father, my mother, me, or a combination of all with digital cameras and iPhones.

With my rekindled love for analog photography, I decided to forego bringing any digital cameras and chose to bring my Mamiya 645 loaded with Lomography Color Negative 400 instead. I brought a spare back loaded with Kodak Portra 400, but at this gathering, nobody had the patience to pose for more than 10 pictures, so I was good to go.

Mamiya 645 Super, Mamiya-Sekor 80mm f/2.8 on Lomography Color Negative 400

I've always considered both my parents to be a "true" photography enthusiasts. My father is more of a gear head, we talk a lot about the latest and greatest in digital cameras; in fact, two years ago, I went with my dad to District Camera to buy his Nikon D850. My mother is more of an artist; the camera, while important, is more of a tool to capture an inspiration, be it pictures of family, or pictures of a something she found interesting.

While sitting down for lunch, I started to explain my renewed love of analog photography to my father, fully expecting him to understand, agree, and perhaps even share my enthusiasm. Instead, the man I give full credit to instilling the love of photography in me, talked about how he didn't "get it" because modern digital cameras were so much easier.

His departure from analog photography was so severe that when I handed him the Mamiya to take a picture of my brother, mother and me, he forgot about focusing the lens before pressing the shutter release. Thank goodness I had the camera set for auto-exposure and "pre-set" the aperture high enough (I think f/5.6) to get some semblance of an image but it wasn't good enough to prevent an out of focus picture. Still happy with the result though, definitely has an old "film camera" look to it... maybe like something I'd expect from a disposable camera.

Mamiya 645 Super, Mamiya-Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Lomography Color Negative 400, just snapped without focusing

The whole thing got me thinking about photography "types"; I found a post in SLR Lounge referencing an informal Facebook poll by the team at PRO EDU that questioned photographers to determine if certain personality types were more drawn to photography than others and the bottom line is yes!

Now the whole lack of enthusiasm from my father made sense; I've always guessed my dad to be a Sentinel; hard working, practical, meticulous, and very traditional. Photography was a way to record significant events and being an engineer, my dad was always interested in a better way of doing things. Makes sense that he'd stray away from the impracticality of analog photography. Never really thought about it, but back in the day, he never considered developing his own film; it was easier to send film to a lab to get developed and his focus on color slide film was more about making sure we could view images on a projector during family slide night.

My mother understood my renewed passion a bit more; she spent time looking at the scanned images I showed her on my laptop and marveled at the vintage Mamiya. I'd guess my mom is a Diplomat, always playing the role of harmonizer in the family. Her empathy for my new obsession made sense. The PRO EDU poll also found Diplomats as most likely to be photographers.

Birthday cake, Mamiya 645 Super, Mamiya-Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Lomography Color Negative 400

I consistently test as an Analyst... specifically a Logician. My fascination with analog photography is about the entire process and all the wonderful possibilities introduced by film type (black and white, color negative, color positive; all in different ISO and even "specialty" films like Lomography Purple), chemistry (black and white, C-41, E-6 and all the different developers and chemistry kits), cameras, and lenses. I still stick with the claims I made in my inaugural post; returning to analog has made me love and appreciate photography even more. I've even thought of weaning myself away from using auto-exposure and getting back to using old school metering or rules to set shutter speed myself... what a concept! It's been at least 6 months since I've touched a camera with autofocus (not including my iPhone, which I don't count as a "camera") and I can honestly say I don't miss it at all. I'm all in for analog, at least for the foreseeable future...

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