Last summer I have been on a wonderful trip to Georgia. After a crazy ride with marshrutka with a tipsy driver who shared a strong sweet home made wine with all the passengers of the bus, we arrived at Tbilisi. The trip was a week long but all my photographs have been captured during practically only one day. All the frames were still virgin with the magical impression that only seeing things for the first time in the colorful sun can give.
We were wandering around the little streets of Tbilisi sweating in the midday heat with eyes wide open and fascinated with the foreign architecture and confusing clash of poverty and wealth. Old buildings, no matter whether they belonged to the rich or the poor, were democraticaly ornamented with eastern patterns.
At some point I noticed that my vintage 50mm f1.8 Pentacon lens was wobbly and when I tried to focus to infinity a part of the ring stayed in my hand. My lens was missing and the lens was dying and I had no substitute. I was hoping to find some flee market that would sell some old zenit lens fitting my m42 mount for the adapter ring but after entire day of searching I realized how naive my expectations were. In the same time underneath my skin I knew this might be my only chance to capture the beauty of Tbilisi.
Just after the lens literally fell apart in my hands I stumbled upon a hidden photography shop.
Without thinking twice I walked in and approached middle aged owner of the shop, trying to explain in simple English what I need. With broken English, words from Russian mixed with Polish, he manged to understand that I need a new lens. I got invited to the back of the shop which looked as if it has stopped in time around thirty years ago. The room was covered in half darkness with the dim light coming from the old light stands pointed at the pale old grey backdrop. Shelves were filled with old dusty books about physics of photography and composition as I managed to decipher with my basic knowledge of cyrillic. The photographer invited me in and opened a big metal mysteriously looking cupboard. The content of it exceeded my expectations and my eyes opened wide, big like vinyls. The cupboard contained 20 maybe 30 different vintage cameras like Leica, old Nikons, Pentaxes, classic Russian Zenits along with all kinds of analog lenses of various sizes and adapters. The owner seemed not to know how obsolete his gear was and how big would be the collector value of all that treasure, had he tried to sell it over the UK eBay. Or maybe he did. Because he offered to sell me one of the vintage 50mm f3.5 lenses for $150. I had to politely decline the offer as first of all I did not have that kind of money on me and secondly for 150$ I could buy a much better digital lens that would be specially designed for my camera and would not require an adapter.
Even though we did not seal the deal in the end, I have seen something I will never forget. I still have the sight of a dark photography studio still and frozen in time. I hope you will enjoy photos taken on the last magical day of my beloved Pentacon lens. After all my photography style originated from it.