Futuristic Retro

I’m loving the styling of the new Nikon Df, it’s both retro and futuristic at the same time. Interesting to see that they are using the tag line ‘fall in love with photography again’. The 35mm SLR styling is clearly more than a nod to photographers of a certain age – i.e. me – who cut their teeth on film based SLR photography and kind of miss it. The price point is clearly positioning the camera in the ‘well off boy’s toys’ bracket too at an eye watering £2,400. It looks beautiful though…

nikon-df_1 nikon-df_2

The aluminium and black styling looks effortlessly stylish and the crisp lines and detailing takes me right back to my early days with a camera in hand. My very first SLR camera was a Ricoh KR10, which was one of the first all black models. I do remember coveting the far more expensive (and therefore out of my price range) Pentax K1000, which had the traditional silver/black finish. I remember my parents buying me the Ricoh for Art College at the princely sum of £110, which back in 1980 was a lot of money, but as far as our budget could stretch. When I look at what cameras cost these days, £110 was quite a lot of money (that reminds me: I must phone my dad, remind him about it and thank him, again).


You can see the styling of the latest Nikon harks back to a cleaner, straighter aesthetic evident in the Pentax K1000. It’s nice to see design going full circle (just like skirt lengths or trouser widths I guess) and although a lot of revisions is due to designer whim,  classic and timeless design never really goes out of fashion.



Interesting to see below how my old KR10 isn’t quite as beautiful as the Pentax (although it was camera of the year I might add rather protectively) but the styling and proportions aren’t perfect. The black looked uber cool at the time where most of the cameras were ironically black and silver.

I still loved that camera, mind – it took some of the best photographs of my life and was built to last: it had a reliability and heft in the hand that was reassuring and was virtually bulletproof. The Ricoh KR10 sparked a lifelong interest in image making which continues to this day.





I do love a good ampersand.

For the uninitiated, an ampersand is the curious squiggle that gets used to shorten ‘and’. It’s name derives from the phrase ‘and per se and’ – so it  basically means ‘and’. It’s what we call a ligature – two letters joined together to make a logogram.

Meaning aside, the ampersand can be one of the most elegant symbols in any font alphabet  and is a real indicator, I think, of how well the font has been drawn and cut. In the old days, fonts would actually be drawn physically with a pencil and ink and literally cut out of wood or metal. Of course that’s not the way these days but the terminology is still used. If this sort of thing interests you, it’s well worth seeking out Simon Garfield’s excellent history of type ‘Just My Type’ – it tales the reader on a wonderfully respectful and enlightening journey of type history and how it makes a real difference to our lives still.

Just this morning, I stumbled across this set of rather cool looking ampersands that would’t look amiss framed up in a gallery. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.