A word of explanation - this camera began life
images (it was a very inexpensive camera to begin with), but after
sitting in a drawer unused for several years, I was surprised,
displeased, and then pleased to discover that all pictures taken with
it look as though they were taken through fog. I have no idea why
this is, but have decided to devote this page to these otherworldly
images! I'll leave the lead photo above where it is, and update
the pictures and text below by putting new ones immediately below this
All pictures copyright by Lyle (Hiroshi)
Saxon, Tokyo - 2005
What strikes me about the next few pictures is the way that this
cheap camera, through its defective vision, has transformed what was a
plain, ordinary, boring, mundane street into something that looks better than a clearer view.
This begs that a question or two be asked - is this not a metaphor for
the world? When you see something clearly and try to explain it
to someone who seems to be oblivious to the obvious, more often than
not they angrily shut their eyes tighter still and say "No! What
I see is the truth! You are lying!" The first reaction you
may have to
hearing this is a disappointed shock at seeing someone actually
- deliberately - not wanting to see the truth. "How can they not
to know the truth?" you think. But have a look at this image
below. It looks kind of nice - a few shades of green on the left
there, pleasing pastel colors to the right of that, with blues and
white in the upper center. The actual ugly reality of this
street in suburbia could be seen for what it is in a photo taken with
a proper camera - but do you want to see it? No. And why
should you? This looks nice - why see it with 20/20 vision?
But if only everything were as simple as
art! Standing on the bow of the Titanic before the collision, who
wants to contemplate the ugly truth of the iceberg about to sink the
ship? Anyone? Everyone? Ah... but only if they know
that it will sink the ship! By the time they believe that awful
possibility, the ship is halfway under water and beyond the point of
being saved. And so I say that the rose-colored glasses have to
come off (from time to time at least) to have a hard, cold, clear look
at the seas we sail!
Digital cameras (and people's eyes) automatically color-correct for
different light sources, but the old junker I'm using for this page
doesn't seem to have that at all, or else it's not functioning.
In any case, since the camera only works in one mode, it's good in a
comparative way. Notice the light intensity of the two following
pictures - first the green lights of a station platform (probably in
fact green, but appearing white to human eyes at the time - along with
the creepy feeling florescent lights engender), and then the vastly
overlit interior of a train. I sometimes wear sunglasses to deal
with the intense lighting of some trains - which might even be
considered too bright for a doctor in an operating room. Well...
that's (possibly) an overstatement, but the light intensity is way
overdone in any case.
If the light were not directly shining into your eyes as you sit there
rapidly getting painful eyes and a headache, it wouldn't be so bad, but
that harsh light mercilessly blasting away really can make late-night
train travel unpleasant. It's my theory that they blast people
with 20X more light than is necessary for illumination in a (successful
it seems) effort to keep crime down. Who wants to do anything
strange when they're standing in an intense spotlight?
Ah... now here we have natural
light filtering through tree leaves... so much nicer than the
unfriendly blast of florescent lights!