Friday Film Part 2: Olympus OM-1 by Sharjeel Javaid

Friday Film Part 2: Olympus OM-1 by Sharjeel Javaid

Hello Steve

It’s no surprise that photography has become a mainstream affair, everyone wants to be a photographer of some sort. And the most mainstream type of photography appears to be street photography. It’s almost like playing guitar in a band, so of-course every kid wants to be cool and belong to a cool “SP” collective. One drawback of this mainstream-ism is that the line between inspiration & imitation has become invisible. It’s one thing to like someone’s approach/style but to become a carbon copy of someone else, results in the impediment of your own creativeness and consequently uniqueness starts to disappear as we become busy being someone we’re not. I realized this in early 2013 when I purchased a camera that completely changed my photographic outlook/approach and no it was not a Leica!

Initially my limited knowledge of a fully manual film camera presented some challenges and I almost gave up on it. But once I got the hang of the basics and I literally mean the basics; I started to photograph my four-year old daughter. This photographic experimentation made me realize that it’s not the light/shadows I am interested in photographing or blasting a flash in people’s faces because I am not Alex Webb, Ray Metzker or Bruce Gilden. Most of all this process made me feel as if the results were a true representation of who I am.

The Olympus OM 1 and my daughter made me realize the true meaning of what Steve McCurry once said – “life is too short not to be doing something which you really believe in. Whether you’re photographing for yourself, for your job, whether you photograph on the weekends or every day or once in a while, the main point is to be having fun and to be exercising your curiosity and to be really in love with what you’re doing”.

Sharjeel J. Javaid








  1. Wow, the second image is just outstanding!
    And I would also be interested in which film you used, because I rarely use B&W film and can’t decide which one to buy.

  2. Have an OM-1. It’s amazing what one can get for $50 these days. Like the photos.

  3. As a lifetime street photographer I see very little street photography today because street photography is not a photograph taken in a street. It should have something to say, to make you think. As I believe it was that truly great photographer Raymond Moore, said, ‘A good photograph you should be able to return to over and over again, each time seeing something different that makes you think’. Watch people look at photographs today, they barely glance, then move onto the next.

    • Forgot to add I really admire the last one of the girl smoking. Who is she I ask. Why is she there, who is the young boy. Do they know one another. In short it makes me think.

  4. “Most of all this process made me feel as if the results were a true representation of who I am.”
    Well Sharjeel ,you look like a fine photographer which is no small thing.

  5. Awesome! Nothing short of amazing, In my opinion! The first one is surreal. The second one is my favorite. A for the OM-1?! It is secondary at best. You know how to take artistic photos. This is what I’m admiring most. Congratulations! And thanks for sharing.

  6. just had a rethink …. must have been 1981..ish ……still great value …

  7. My OM1n MD was purchased in 1975 ..for £112.00…. just had to have it serviced for the first time …’s that for value …. still love using it … as you will … originally it was a bit frowned on as too small for an SLR to be a serious camera …. then someone took it to the top of mount everest !!!! ….. great images you’ve produced .. and hope it gives you as much joy as I’ve had from it….

  8. Really love these images. So much character and I think you captured the way it feels so well. I haven’t tried the OM cameras, but own a couple of OM lenses that I use on my Sony NEX. Really great lenses!

  9. Great quote from McCurry that every photographer needs to take to heart especially in this age of GAS! Love the images. As Jan said, for the most part you placed the subject in the center but the overall compositions make it work! Also, as someone who shot Olympus professionally for 20+ years, I miss my light Oly gear and the fantastic metering system that was in the OM-4 cameras!

  10. Great shots..really like 1,2 and 4. Seeing the images made toggle a new browser research the camera a bit…very nice work!

  11. The Olympus OM line up is by far one of the best cameras ever made, i myself own an OM4 (it was actually a gift from a good friend) and ever since having it, enjoyed photography more and more…I actually fell in love with it and made me abandon my 3000$ worth of digital equipment…i just would like to add that you have some great photographs, and being different than others make them more special 🙂

  12. Some really nice shots there, keep it up.

    I too share your OM love, just can’t get rid of my OM1/2/3/4. And the Zuiko lenses rank amongst some of the best lenses ever created bar none, even the el cheapo 50mm f/1.8 has so much character & charm. Just spent a weeks break myself only using my OM-3 & OM-4T and Zuiko wides & loved it!

  13. Lovely shots, I use my son as a model too a lot of the time, just like my great uncle did with me and my brother. I’ll never forget his love for photography and his black and white prints. I use an OM-1 also, such an awesome camera, simple, small and relatively quiet for an SLR. Of course the OM-1 was designed to be as similar to a Leica as possible, that was the brief, in size and ease of use. Nice work.

  14. Well, you certainly have your own style: really keeping your distance to every main subject, most of whoom you place dead center in the frame.

    That said, there is something enjoyable about every one of them, in subtly different forms.

    Keep shooting!

    • Rules truly are made to be broken as these shots prove! Great shots. Gives the viewer a sense of a young child discovering the world around them. I get this feeling whenever I see my own daughter playing and exploring.

      • Yes, for sure. Except for the last one of the daughter.

        That one gives me a feeling of someone being “observed” (or, almost: stalked). The weakest one for me, anyway. YMMV.

  15. One of the most beautiful viewfinders, IMO. I’ve had the idea of getting one again for a while, but haven’t been able. Definitely agree with you on the re-kindling of way I saw photography with film, as I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in a long time with an old borrowed Canon FD recently.

    Anyway, the 1st, 2nd and last pictures are my favorite.


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