I have a new camera and I like it. It's digital, it's fast, and it's furious. Most of the pictures on this site were taken with it. In the back of my mind, though, I've always known that it missed something. I hadn't been able to put my finger on what it missed, though, until the other day when I checked out Antonioni's classic movie Blow Up (1966), and suddenly realized what it is: the ability to be used in hand to hand combat.
I haven't even seen the entire movie yet because the DVD started skipping, but it's about a detached fashion photographer in "swinging" or "mod" London. It's cool. My epiphany came during a scene where the main character, the photographer, drives up somewhere in his convertable, parks, opens his glove box, and lifts out his 35mm. This was 1966. And the thing is, what struck me, is how you could tell that this thing had some weight to it. I'm not clever enough to know what make of SLR it is, but it was clearly metal, and its parts were metal; when he fits it to his palm, you can almost hear tiny mechanical noises of parts, tiny metal parts, operating or hitting his skin. And all he was doing was holding it. Look at it in the poster there . . . in the film, he doesn't use it to strike the lady under him or anything (well, maybe metaphorically he does) or anybody else as far as I know. But if he found himself surrounded in an alley, I bet he could start swinging that thing and take out a few people.
On the other hand, my camera is plastic. It's nice, and does nice things, but when I put it into my hand, I might as well be picking up a Happy Meal. I can tell myself that all that really matters is how the pictures turn out, but that's like saying that cars are only about getting you to work on time. *sigh* I'm not a violent person, but I wish that if I ever needed to clonk someone over the head with my camera, it would hurt them.