The Dilemma of the Two Cameras
Even with my obsession with strict chronology and despite the success of this investigation in identifying the years in which the photographs were taken, it will be impossible to file these particular negatives and/or negative sheets chronologically. The culprit is the usage of two cameras. In 1991, a Leica M6 and an Olympus XA.
Some days I would use both cameras interchangeably; the Leica primarily for pictorial use and while riding in cars, and the Olympus with the A-11 flash attachment mostly for family occasions.
The chronology is often broken because on one roll from one camera there may be three days worth of shooting, while the other may have seen three or four rolls go through it in one day. Both cameras were recorded by each other in certain photographs in 1991
In 1992, I took yet two different cameras : A Nikon F4 with an array of lenses and the SB-24 Flash, and a Contax T-2 for snapshots. Although there are no photographs of either camera in the series, there are clues.
5 - 5
The daughter of my maternal uncle Georges with the Leica M3,
evidently shot with the Olympus XA with flash.
My cousin Laurent checking out the Olympus XA,
photographed with the Leica M6.
The only reflection of me taking a photograph in a vitrine most likely on Hamra Street. The way I am holding the camera, it has to be the Leica M6. Also in the reflection is my friend Walid who on this day, would take me on a drive through downtown Beirut to look at and photograph the devastated city. Walid, his car, and his watch would serve as clues for various other rolls.
The Contax T2 is the only film camera I had at the time that could do a time stamp. Although I hardly ever used that feature, I sometimes would activate it accidentally. The day stamp on this photo may be correct, but the year was off by 3. Yet another variable that is definitely misleading if used incorrectly. Furthermore, the Contax T2 complicates things even more as it winds the whole roll immediately upon loading, and shoots the film in reverse order; so when batch scanning a whole roll, the first shot is at the end of the roll. One has to go back manually and renumber the frames in the correct order, increasing the possibility of human error.
The Nikon F4 with the SB-24 Flash Off Camera, as can be seen by the unusual shadows of the chandelier and of my cousin Lamis.