September 26, 2020
Nikon FM3A Interchangeable-lens, focal plane shutter, 35mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. Made in Japan by Nikon Corporation. Introduced 2001 - Discontinued 2006.
In childhood I was obsessed with Drag Racing, it evolved from most children's love of Hot Wheels Cars, the fact that Europe's biggest Drag Strip, Santa Pod Raceway is not far from my home, bringing Custom Car Magazine to life. I loved the crossover of British and American lifestyle, it came to the forefront with the film 'Grease', when I was thirteen and it dominated popular culture.
For ten years of my life, 1997-2007 I immersed myself in the Drag Racing world once again, this time as a professional photographer shooting for magazines like Custom Car, Classic American, Street Machine and Street Fighters. People attending the events and the participants also bought prints of my photographs. I used my Nikon FM3A camera when I was photographing on the start line at Santa Pod (I began using the Nikon FM2 and moved onto Nikon FM3 when it was released). It is lightweight and robust, and easy to change lenses as I approached the different situations like a close up of a burn out or a telephoto of a car as it leaves the start line.
The world I was in as a Drag Racing photographer lead to my body of work Man's Ruin and to my many trips to America where I photographed Hot Rod and lifestyle events. The magazines I worked with were my passport to the vantage points at these events and all my 35mm work at that time was taken using this camera. The work I did in this period is a blurred line of documentary, editorial and art photography.
When researching the camera for this blog I discovered a quote by Ken Rockwell which I think perfectly describes it, "Nikon marketed the FM3a as if it was some sort of men's jewelry, pitching it with the overpriced, underperforming 45mm f/2.8 AI-P lens, so many people ignored it. This is too bad, because it turns out that the Nikon FM3a is Nikon's most intelligently designed and most ergonomically perfect camera of all time."
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