Whose Wide Mansions

Here’s a theory: Smena 8Ms heal themselves. I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but really, I’m onto something. Last month, I believed that I owned two non-working Smena 8Ms. What convinced me that neither was working was that, simply, neither worked.

The first (for those who might recall) was dropped by me down a waterfall in May of 2015. It bounced among the brambles, rolled over rocks, and slide across the sandy banks of Oregon’s Paulina Creek. The 8M came to rest as it plunked wholly into the water. Fortunately, the way was shallow and the current wasn’t strong enough to drag it downstream.

After shaking it somewhat dry, I discovered that very little water has actually entered the camera itself (the film even survived). The camera, save for a few scrapes and scratches, still worked. Two rolls later, it ceased working, and I just assumed that the fifty foot fall had something to do with it. The film advance jammed or something. I can’t really remember. I tossed it aside, leaving it for over a year in Sarah’s car.

The second, which was sent to me in the summer of that same year by someone who said that “everyone deserves a working Smena,” simply stopped one day. The shutter no longer seemed to be cooperating with the shutter button. I set it on a little display thing in the living room because I felt bad getting rid of it.

Last month, Sarah cleaned out here car and brought me the Smena 8M therein. Even more unsure of what to do with this one, I took the second off the mantle to replace it with the waterfall camera. I had forgotten that it was stashed in her car, and it has a better story.

Anyway, when I took down the second 8M, I couldn’t remember what didn’t work on it. So I checked it out – shutter, advance… well, that’s about all there is to these – and everything seemed fine. Figuring that the Valar were smiling down upon me from some celestial Valinor-type place (likely Estë the ‘gentle healer of hurts and of weariness’), I tried the waterfall 8M. Alas, it too was working! In fact, no matter what I did to make either camera not work, they continued to be problem-free!

This was a day before leaving on the last weekend trip of the season. So I loaded the second 8M (I still didn’t fully trust the Waterfall 8M) and it shot perfectly the entire trip.

Both 8Ms were absolutely out of service, and now both have healed themselves fully. There is literally no other explanation.

‘Whose Wide Mansions’

Camera: Smena 8M
Film: Foma Equicolor Premium 100 (expired); 50iso

Douglas County, Washington


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