Reconciling my Soviet camera gear

As you know, I have several film and digital cameras, and I can take several of them at any time and go for a photo walk somewhere, anywhere.

My cameras come from all over the world. My Kodak Medalist II (“Kodak Red”) was built in Rochester. My AGFA Clipper Special came from Binghamton. My Nikon Df was conceived in Japan and most likely assembled in Thailand. My Nikon F2 was most likely Japanese born and bred. My Pentacon 6 and my Rolleiflex Automat MX are German-crafted.

And then there’s my Krasnogorsk FT-2 super-ultra-wide camera – the one I nicknamed “Raskolnikov” years ago. That’s my Soviet camera whose nickname is officially borrowed from the Dostoyevsky book Crime and Punishment, or one could equate it to the curse words uttered by Boris Badenov when he can’t catch moose and squirrel.

And right now, that’s a problem.

I also have several different film stocks available for use. Kodak film from America. Fuji film from Japan. I’ve even got some 50-year-old Ansco film from Binghamton that I’m still debating on using at some point.

And I also have packs of Svema film. Which was manufactured in Ukraine, but the stock I have may or may not have been crafted during the time when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

And that’s another problem.

Essentially, I have one camera and several film stocks that were manufactured by the same country and/or republic that is currently committing war atrocities upon a sovereign nation.

Let me first state that Ukraine is a sovereign nation and the attacks on it by Russia are nothing short of reprehensible and repulsive. Vladimir Putin has shown the bitter colors of a demagogue, a despot a tyrant and a madman. And in the coming days, I will have a good friend of mine – who lived and worked in Ukraine for many years – guest-write a blog post here about the attack on Ukraine and what this truly means in the world. I know that what he writes will be educational and informative, and I encourage you to read it when it’s posted.

Now back to my camera and film.

As you know, I am a man of principle. I don’t shop at certain locales that engage in practices to which I do not approve. In other words, don’t expect me to eat at Chick-fil-A or to donate to the Salvation Army, based on both organizations’ discriminatory policies towards the LGBTQ community.

So with that in mind, I’m going to use Raskolnikov and the Svema film for only one photo engagement this year, and then the camera and film will be put away until peace is truly achieved in that region.

And as an added caveat, if I decide that anything from that one photo engagement this year is even remotely Competition Season-worthy, I will donate any prize money earned by that photo – in addition to a flat donation itself – to the International Red Cross, for funds to be used for medical and hospital and food supplies for those whose lives were torn apart by Russian tanks and bombs.

That’s right. As far as I’m concerned, I will find a way to make this gear benefit Ukraine. This isn’t some pound-my-chest virtue signaling. If I’m standing with Ukraine, so is my camera gear.

No matter where it was manufactured.

I mean it.