I remember banging away at my mom’s typewriter when I was a kid, and yes I did say typewriter and not computer. She had one that we would haul out of the closet from time to time, plug in to the wall, and use to type letters or just play with kind of as an expensive source of amusement. This was in the late 1980’s before most homes had a computer and even though her typewriter did need to be plugged in it was merely so the physical action of pressing a key would then trigger a small motor that would activate the individual mechanical lever for the corresponding type hammer. This thing had no screen, no mouse, and used a physical ink ribbon that had to be refilled if letters started appearing as light gray. It wasn’t the most efficient way to get things done, and we always kept a small bottle of White-Out handy when using it, but without a computer screen we didn’t know any different at the time and it was a pretty useful and practical way to engage in written communication.
Of course my mom’s typewriter was far more modern than the one in this picture, and far more functional as well given that this one has some sort of plant growing out the top, but seeing this Royal model and taking its picture did bring me back a few years to what I guess you could say was a much simpler time. When I took this photo my wife and I had just eaten lunch at a local diner called Granny’s (kind of appropriate, I suppose, given the subject of the picture) and were on our way back to the car when I saw this collection of old household items sitting outside a store called The Nook. Something about the colors really stood out to me, and I thought about trying something a bit different and taking a shot straight on instead of with my usual foreground/background composition, but there were too many cars parked in the way and my 50mm lens was not wide enough to get that kind of a picture. So I went with what works and I’m pretty happy with how things turned out.
I shot this with my D750 which enabled me to get a bit more foreground and background blur than would have been possible on my D7100 due to the sensor size (if I was trying to shoot the exact same composition, that is) and really like the mix of colors that I was able to get in the final shot. This was taken at f/1.8 and even though I had to stand pretty far back to get everything I wanted in the shot, there depth of field is still quite shallow. Yay for full-frame cameras! :)
Clearly the typewriter is the subject of the scene but you can see a lot of interesting things going on in the background too, and the typewriter just happened to be perfectly positioned so as to enable a picture like this with its features neatly on display while also offering a bit of deference to the background objects too. When I was editing the RAW file in Lightroom I actually desaturated things just a bit which is contrary to my normal style of postprocessing, but I thought it was appropriate given the old-fashioned nature of the image itself. I think it would be cool to revisit this scene in the near future, perhaps in the morning or evening when the type of daylight and background traffic would allow for a much different type of picture. And who knows, maybe in the meantime it would be fun to track down an old typewriter and see if my kids can play around with it too :)