A is for accident

On the days leading up to that trip to Ikea a couple weeks back, I had an aching feeling.  Anyone who has shot long enough with the same camera–especially film cameras with a bevy of mechanical bits–can tell you with some degree of accuracy when something isn’t right.  It can be the slightest bit of damping in a ring or stickiness in a dial and you know, balls to bones that something is messed-up.  More often than not, when I feel those sensations my first reaction is to chalk it all up to paranoia.  The logical mind takes over and the same line of reasoning prevails.  I shot the camera earlier and it was fine.  The last roll was fine, it’s all in my head.  This is all bullshit of course because it’s actually not in my head, I can feel it in my hands but I ignore that because I just want it to be ok.  

Well while I was out shooting before the Ikea pilgrimage I knew something was up.  I pushed it to the back of my mind because I had been having a phenomenal day.  The images were appearing right in front of me in slow motion.  All I had to do was frame and click at a leisurely pace and out would come photographic-gold.  There were at least 10 and maybe even 12 or so that I was certain were keepers.  Certain.  But all the while, the nagging feeling was there, all the way in the back of my mind, slowly running it’s nails down the chalkboard coated inner-wall of my skull.  The film advance had felt wrong… too little resistance.  When I would advance and cock it didn’t feel right at all.  I only had maybe two shots left on the roll but it was still nagging me when we arrived at Ikea.  

On the walk through the parking lot to in the entrance there was some beautiful light streaming in from an open section of the ceiling, casting beautiful triangular shadows on a wall with little windows cut in it.  People were walking behind the wall and popping up in the cutouts, so I timed it out and made frames 37 and 38.  When the frame advance cocked passed 38 to 39, I felt the bottom drop out.  I shot out 39 and when it advanced again I knew I was fucked.  

Down with the rewind-lever and spin the rewind-crank and I know immediately that for the first time in four years I haven’t loaded the Leica right.  After one turn all tension goes out of the crank and I open the bottom.   


I take out the completely unused roll of Tri-X, sit it on a bench near by to angry to even look at it and walk away.  Anna Maria was watching and knew immediately what had happened.  She told me how sorry she was for me while I loaded up a fresh roll, careful to test the tension after loading and exposed passed my head-frame just to see the crank turn.  Admittedly the rest of the day went fine and I made some images at Ikea that I really enjoyed but I know what I lost.  On the way out of the chaos that is Ikea, we stopped to get a bag of lördagsgodis each.  While we were heading back to the car AM was walking behind that same wall.  It was later in the day and the interesting shadows were gone, but I still managed to catch her, eating salt lakris and looking terribly guilty.  There was even a letter “A” behind her.  Neat.  I looked over at the bench and the devil roll was gone.  Like a bad penny that one.   

Shot on a Leica M7 with a 35mm Cron, on Kodak Tri-X film pushed to 800 at the Icon, loaded by a moron.  

Using Format