The BART station was pretty empty when I arrived there on Sunday afternoon after the museum. Must have been a lull time. Just me and a couple of other people sitting quietly, waiting for our connections.


My head was full of Robert Frank’s The Americans. I had just a couple of frames left on my roll of film. Pulled out the camera to make an exposure, wound and put it away. 

The young woman sitting next to me looked up and closed her book. She turned my way. 

“I heard you do something with that camera. Is it a film camera?”

“Yes, a Rollei 35S.”

“May I see it? It looked beautiful.”

I pulled out the old Rollei and handed it to her. 

“It was the sound of you winding the film after you took the picture that caught my attention. You don’t hear that very much any more.”

We talked for a few minutes … she loves photography but says she’d just learning the technical. Likes to capture moments. Shoots with a Panasonic LX3, but liked the simplicity and style of the Rollei 35S. Asked where she might buy one, perhaps it would help teach her the basics.  Then …

“Do you think photography is becoming devalued because so many people can take pictures with automatic cameras now?” 

My train pulled in just as I was about to respond. I didn’t have a card with me, forgot to get her email address to continue the conversation. She turned back to her book as I boarded the train, sat down, and watched the station blur into the past. I made two more exposures while the train was still underground, rewound the film as we broke into the sunlight. 

It’s amazing where a camera can take you.