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Baron I, exposed!

My first camera. Mine!

Let’s play a game. What is Baron I’s favorite thing to write about? If you said cameras, you’re wrong: as much as I love boasting about my cameras, Baron I’s favorite subject is Baron I. We’re going to leave Zenits aside for a minute and talk about how all this madness began.

First of all, you should know that Baron I has a secret personality. Much like Superman, I was born Baron I and I’m Baron I most of the time, but I conceal my camera superpowers below a much less awe-inspiring facade, just for not having to deal with nubile female groupies all the time. Let’s call this persona “Citizen I”. I must confess that sometimes I enjoy leaving my blue blood at home and mixing with the common rabble as Citizen I. Even though, my inherent, sheer, aristocratic aura spills out of me all day long, so it’s a struggle.

First of all, you should know that Baron I has a secret personality. Much like Superman, I was born Baron I and I’m Baron I most of the time, but I conceal my camera superpowers below a much less awe-inspiring facade, just for not having to deal with nubile female groupies all the time. Let’s call this persona “Citizen I”. I must confess that sometimes I enjoy leaving my blue blood at home and mixing with the common rabble as Citizen I. Even though, my inherent, sheer, aristocratic aura spills out of me all day long, so it’s a struggle.

Citizen I even has an unsuspecting wife, totally unaware of the real truth about Baron I’s magnificency. And that is the quid of it all. One day, which happened to be Citizen I’s fake birthday, Citizen I got a camera for a present from his wife. It was a Holga. A Holga 120 CFN. CF stands for color flash; what N means is beyond mortal knowledge. It was the lomography version of the camera, meaning that it had a sticker with ‘Lomography’ written on it, which was easily solved, and a fancy packaging. Otherwise it was just our good ‘ol Holga: a black plastic box camera for 120 film. It has just two shutter speeds: B and 1/anything in between 30 and 125. Yes, Holgas are like everything else in life: there are fast ones and slow ones.   

As Citizen I, I tried to look unimpressed: I would try that toy camera, sure, but just for the amusement of my wife. As my real self, I was tripping: this was the perfect excuse to extend my supercamerapowers to my secret personality without being too obvious. Maybe I had been overacting as Citizen I a bit too much, as at 26, I had never really owned a camera prior to that event. Event! How simple it sounds! Event! THIS was an event. Compared to it, the Permian-Triassic extinction event was a bad joke of an event.

Sure, I shot a couple rolls with it. Maybe a couple hundred just the first year. It was delicious, and finally that simple two-speed shutter worn out for good and, like in an Ovidean metamorphosis, suddenly became a one-speed (B only) shutter. I had really been playing the role for all this time: as Citizen I, I showed so much excitement at medium format that when I suggested taking a small loan on my credit card to buy a bigger, meaner medium format camera, nobody actually suspected. I even told everyone that I wanted a medium format SLR, as having to compose through a viewfinder was not convenient and I wanted to have a medium format zoom lens, so composing was more comfortable. I even said that, even if it wasn’t mandatory, I would prefer that my new medium format zoom lens had autofocus capabilities. I didn’t mind if it was slow. F1.9 was enough.

You should have seen me at my local camera store, asking for a medium format camera entry amateur system with zoom lenses and autofocus. And please, make it less than three hundred. Oh, the face of the shopkeeper. That acting deserved an academy award. Eventually I got tired of playing dum-dum and settled for a Kiev 60. And the Kiev 60 led to a Smena 8M, and the Smena 8M led to a Zenit TTL, which led to the Dark Side.

Or maybe I’m making all this shit up and, like in a JL Borges tale, I was a vanilla guy in which that Holga just sparked the birth of Baron I. Maybe I’m not who I think I am and I’m really Citizen I believing that I’m really Baron I in disguise. Or maybe there really  is something just going too much cuckoo up here in my brains.

Anyway, that Holga was a new beginning, which led to this. Now you know.

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