Tommy Ku Photography

2022 Outlook

This is a follow-up of a previous post 2021 in Review, which ended up too long so I had to split it into 2 post. Actually, I have gotten tired writing about this. Jeez, I want to write about my photowalk to Fleet Arcade, or my Bessa R3M, or Three-color process to shoot color with bnw, or the theoretical Solina stereography rig…hmm, so below is the outlook on 2022.

Camera (again?)

To speak of the first thing I did once the clock clicked into 2022, it was to post on IG…out of some supernatural, unspeakable force.

IG story about getting a Bessa R3M
The god of RF has spoken

And then this shot was taken on Jan 2nd 2022.

Selfie on Bessa R3A
Is it a Leica? A Zeiss Ikon ZM? No, it's Bessa R3A.

Literally I bought a Bessa R3A 35 hours after posting about it. I wish to channel the same level of motivation into getting a house or being less cringy, or both.

Prime Lens and Adaptor

Anyways, I have spent too much money on the Bessa R3A (Thanks to film and film camera price hike in recent years) I probably have to be more mindful about my camera purchases this year.

What's done is done. Now I have gotten a Bessa R3A with Nokton 40mm f/1.2 on VM mount, I should make the best use of the lens by adapting it to my Fuji XT-20 so I get an additional prime lens at little cost. I have mentioned in the 2021 review how much I was impressed by a prime lens. Having a prime lens in my arsenal would open up some opportunities.

PK - M43 adaptor
PK-M4/3 adaptor. A random accessory I got along with some cheap expired film, gifted to a friend who could use this

Gears in general

Whether it's because of consumerism or simply because it's easier, I found that people talk about gear more often than photography. They talk about what they use and how the gears perform in so-and-so situation but not how the camera give them an experience.

I belive that GAS got the best of me and I purchased more gears than I needed. As if getting a piece of shiny gear would immediately take my photography to the next level. Of course that didn't happen and I want to break away from this in 2022.

What I was doing with my drum machine was trying to skip learning, attempting to buy talent and accomplishment by configuring my workstation. That's the promise of buying stuff for your stuff: The Enhancements will make the Experience so much better and give you more of the power of the Object.
— Paul Ford "A Grand Unified Theory of Buying Stuff"

I believe this is one reason our modern lifestyles can feel a little self-defeating sometimes. In our search for fulfillment, we keep paying first prices, creating a correspondingly enormous debt of unpaid second prices. Yet the rewards of any purchase – the reason we buy it at all — stay locked up until both prices are paid.
— Davis Cain "Everything Must Be Paid for Twice"

Not to mistake my decision on a lighter focus on gear as a statement against gear reviews out there. They are still valuable in teaching people what's important about a gear when they go out to hunt for suitable gears for themselves. Meanwhile I am looking to focus on another facet of the game, which is how experiences are opened up with what's at hand, and trying to push myself to fully realize the capabilities of even those old, simple cameras.


Recently I have found the joy of seeing my personal view I could totally agree on in books or blog posts that I read. This means that I have learned, by myself, a lesson that people were writing down to educate others out there, and that it's a knowledge (somewhat) validated. Money can buy gears, not skill. How can one exchange money for skill? Read!

Inspired by Ansel Adams'《Examples: the making of 40 photographs》, I want to explore more about Group f.64, zone system and black and white photography.

I also wanted to explore the opinions of the renowned photographers and learn more about visual arts in general, expecting something that'll expand or even overturn my understanding in the art, in order to bring it to the next level.

My cameras, especially the older ones, have light leaks, stuck/misaligned focusing and fungus on lens. These are simple cameras that I am confident that an DIY fix is possible. These cameras are anyway too low in value to afford a proper CLA by reputable shops. So as a stretch goal of the year I am going to read about camera servicing.


Originally, writing acted to express my personal views on photography, mostly gears. Slowly they turned into an outlet to vent some of my personal feelings about things. None of these are wrong by my measure, more so than not after reading the books by 星野道夫 and 鬼海弘雄.

What I liked about these writers is that photography serves as a complementary part to their writing, yet their writings wouldn't be as impressive without any photographs. More importantly, without the intention to take those photographs, they wouldn't have experienced the events in the books. In 2022 I hope to be able to share an experience to the readers in additional to feeling expressed. Expressing my feeling is easy, those are just words, and to make readers feel the same, that's the hardest part.

If I was able to get that far, I also want to promote photography as a window to explore and understand the world (once we are done with COVID!) in the same way that these photographers have inspired me.


Analog photography has revealed to me a world that every sshot is its own unique creation. And no two attempts are the same even if I tried to keep all conditions to same.

In 2022, I want to direct some energy to re-challenging what didn't work for me in 2021.

My Cyanotype print came out blank when I first tried it out. In my next attempt I want to ensure the paper is dried in total darkness and print with proper test strip beforehand to get something proper.

Having hit the limitation of the "cha-cha" method of stereo photography, I want to create a simple rig to put my 2 identical Solina Color-Apotar Pronto side-by-side to reate a poor man's Stereo Realist.

Seriously, it's the end of 2010s, why the only thing we get is that overprized plasticky RETO 3D if the Chinese were able to crank out something like 3D World TL 120-1 in the 2000s. (ahem) Anyways, the additional advantage of a rig setup is that I can dismount them and use them as individual cameras. The Color-Apotar Triplet has proven that it's holding up even today in a recent shoot on the Ansco Memar, so I am having a high hope on this re-challenge.

In many occasions it's shown that limitations actually foster creativities. Re-challenging may end up to be a recurring theme in the near future and I am feeling excited about it already.

Physical stuff

In mere 15 years ago people were still routinely flipping physical photo albums and printing photos. Now, everything has gone digital. In the lab they are even asking whether we want to get the negatives back at no additional charge and they even charge extra for contact sheets. These were givens back then!

When people say film is alive it's like the shooting + developing part is alive, with the tail end (printing with a proper enlarger) amputated. It's alive yet, and quite disabled.

In 2022 I want to do more about the tail end, the physical stuff of photography that are quite dead at least in my city. I may not end up developing my own film, not until I get into large format I guess. There are 2 things I was interested in 2021 that I want to do more seriously in 2022.

As you may recall, I was quite pleased with the result of those Provia/Velvia 100F slides I shot in 2021. Shooting slides cost about the same as shooting polaroid in variable cost (film + develop). The positive however contains way more details and color vibrancy. Think wrapping some 6x9 (the only size my Moskva-5 can shoot) in Polaroid-like frame, that'll open up possiblities of presenting slides however people present Polaroids.

Well if I am doing something physical with photos, there's nothing better than publishing a zine. A simple one maybe. This also ties with my writing goal and even the Cyanotype goal for the year. In 2022 I want to create a zine that I can go back and look at in the future, instead of just aimlessly putting things onto the virtual space Instagram.


It's a hobby not a F-king job.

I don't want to aim my photography at anything for-profit because it is a hobby and I intend to remain as an amateur forever.

That however doesn't stop me from trying to make money out of whatever I have already produced. If I am sitting on thousands of photos that are not good enough to sell as prints, can they be sold as stock photos to subsitize on film?

2022 Outlook

Being a hobby of mine I expect like, half of them will probably be end up in some half-ass state and half of them be considered "done" despite falling short of the original intention. That's fine, I am glad the vague ideas I had early in the year has been solidified into this post, which is already quite a leap forward.

Let's see.