Life Lessons from a Man Who Has Repaired Cameras for over 50 Years
Art and Experience: “Analog is always fascinating, because we all want the surprise.”
Filmmakers find great joy in creating images by capturing the beauty in the world around us, but this Italian camera repair technician reminds us that that joy can also be found in caring for the very machines that allow us to do so. In this incredibly touching short, Master of Camera, directed by David Drills, Gian Luigi Carminati explains his love of analog photography and cameras, and shares several lessons he’s picked up in his 50 years of devotion to the craft.
Master of Camera was written by Drills and Chiara Porro, edited by Didier Tommasi, and graded by Alessandro Siano. Here’s what the team had to say about the project:
Gian Luigi Carminati is a passionate and poetic 76 years old man who spent his entire life repairing cameras. In his small workshop in Milan, he takes care of old cameras with just a set of screwdrivers and a lot of patience. We got the chance to spend some time with him and he was happy to share with us topics like why the analog is still better than the digital, his 50 years old long relationship with photography and how technology shaped the approach to this art.
“We were deeply touched by these thoughts about photography coming from a self described ‘technician’ instead of a photographer. —David Drills
Perhaps For many young filmmakers, digital has always been the better, more reasonable choice for shooting a film, but for those of us who cut our teeth on film cameras, there is a little bit of romance and mystery in analog.
Carminati is absolutely right when he describes the allure of film—finding out what kinds of images you captured, even if you knew exactly what you were doing, was a surprise. With digital, the result is immediate and takes that mystery away.
Some might say that that’s a good thing, because, of course, no one wants to leave it up to chance when making a film—and for the most part I agree. However, there’s something about giving up control and not fully knowing what’s going to show up once your film is developed that makes you feel, I don’t know, closer to the medium. It’s a little bit like life: you wake up every day, do your best to make the most of things, hoping that something beautiful develops—but you won’t know what you’ve got until the end.