Autostrada per l'Olimpo

Publish date 26-04-2021

by Redazione Sermig

The photograph of a funeral march

September 21, 2010 - 06:30 pm

Tokyo, Japan.

Internal Radial C1

Of course, looking at this image in black and white now, eleven years after having taken it from behind a windshield of a Toyota Corolla, in the light of what happened during 2020, it hurts my heart, and not because it is yet another victim of the virus. It simply saddens me as a photographer and lover of the photographic discipline having to watch helplessly the capitulation of another icon - yet another after Pentax and Kodak - also forced to a renewal that smacks of surrender: surrender in front of the excessive power and power of the fire of smartphones and social networks is becoming a constant that does not seem to have any intention of leaving any surviving witnesses. Sin!

In an age where everyone claims to get the best results by spending little, a company like Olympus simply was not able to keep up with the times, so within ten years, more or less since they appeared the first cameras / mobile phones, one hundred and fifty years of photography history have gone to be "blessed" giving rise to a crisis in the sector that is putting an end to a craft profession.

"Your vision, our future", has been for years the slogan that has distinguished Olympus Corpora¬ration, an iconic factory of optical and photographic instruments of absolute precision, founded in Tokyo in 1917 , which became famous for having patented some cameras that have made the history of photography, such as the OM series, and the Pen series. In 1950, the technicians were even able to design the first "gastro-camera", that is the first gastroscope in the world that made it possible to take photos inside the stomach through a probe thanks to the discovery of optical fibers.

From that moment on he never left the medical sector of which Olympus became a leader to this day. No, Olympus is not technically bankrupt, above all because the projects of the new property that absorbed it are not yet clear, but the fact of having ceased and sold the department dedicated to photography to a large corporation, the same one that made it famous and respected no less than Nikon and Leica, it is making its loyal users believe that in the future it will be difficult to return to the successes of the past having ceased the research department and there being no projects and money to keep it active.

I have had four of Olympus, one even found in Rome on the street, thrown near the dustbin, perhaps stolen, perhaps forgotten by a careless tourist. It was an OM2 a traditional 35mm SLR with which one evening in August of '90 with an objective lent by a barman friend (I had no money to spend and I had to make do) I was able to make splendid portraits of Ray Charles during a historic exhibition at the Royal Gardens of Turin.

Looking at this photograph. The palace on the right where you can see the Olympus luminous sign, the only one lit up while the lights of a warm September evening were going down, is an emblematic image of the face of a city that owes its fortune precisely to research and precision technology, a monument to what was once produced by incorporating a soul made to last and not those kind of "throwaways", like most useless things mass-produced today.

NP Febbraio 2021   

Luca Periotto

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