Timeless in Vancouver / by Arthur Hsu

I think by now, everyone knows my routine.  It was a beautiful day, so I decided to grab my camera and head to town for a quick stroll to see what I can capture.  Normally, I would take my rangefinder camera, but I had recently sent a couple of them in for service.  Much like a mechanical watch, the rangefinder cameras could last beyond a lifetime, but it does need servicing now and then.  I decided I would take my Nikon F3 film SLR with me.  All the shots you see here were taken by the F3 with Voigtlander 58mm F1.4 lens.  I shot with some cheap Fujifilm Superia 400 that I bought from London Drugs after I ran out of film last time.  “Cheap” as in cheap when compared to some other film, but still ball-bustlingly expensive when compared to digital.  

I quickly came across a small crowd gathered around a filmset right in front of the art gallery on Robson Street.  I overheard someone saying that they were filming for a TV series called “Timeless”.  It was a scene out of the 50’s and the shutterbug in me started dodging heads to get a good shot.  I thought it was rather ironic that I was capturing the filmset, depicting a time when film was king, with a film camera... but all in the year 2017.  It could be my bias, but I find the rendering of film to be rather fitting of the scene.  I think it certainly added a level of romanticism with the film’s less than razor-sharp rendering you would otherwise find in modern digital cameras.  

My fascination with the scene was somewhat dampened by a security guard approaching me to ask me to stop taking pictures.  I was standing outside of the cordoned off area along with other spectators.  The security guard informed me that he was asked by someone to come and stop me because I had a “professional” camera.  I chuckled and had a calm and frank discussion with him regarding the logic.  I also offered to speak to the cop doing security less than 10 steps away from us.  He declined.  I stopped taking pictures after he approached me because I didn’t want him to get in trouble for not stopping me.  It still amazes me the logic behind their request.  If they didn’t want pictures taken, they should fence off the area completely.  My camera was far from professional.  In fact, most camera phones there would probably be able to take higher resolution photos than my old-school setup.  A for-profit film company is using an area of public land, but they would also like to control the area and the people adjacent to filming location.  I am not quite sure why I would be subjected to their company rules on a city street.  Once again, if a police officer is making an arrest, everyone and their dogs grab their phones to film the incident.  They certainly have the right to do so.  If there is filming going on, you are now teleported to some sort of dictatorship.  That’s probably just as fascinating as the 50’s filmset.