My first camera was a box Brownie followed by the Brownie 127. I took to photography early and the original box Brownie was easy to use, unlike its big brother the Brownie 127. I found this model more difficult to handle with its button to release the shutter instead of the lever. For an introvert photography was the perfect hobby. Being able to observe the world from behind a camera was the perfect introduction into the world beyond myself.
My father bought my first box Brownie as a birthday gift. He taught me the basics and then let me learn through trial and error. He taught by showing, telling was not his way.
By the time I had outgrown the camera pictured above instamatic cameras were fashionable; they had flash cubes which opened a world of night photography.
Each time we moved house, my father’s hobby equipment was reduced and when we moved into the apartment there was no place for a darkroom. This meant we had our films professionally developed and travelled into Johannesburg on Saturday mornings to drop our rolls of film into the camera shop for developing. Sometime during the week my father collected them and we sat and discussed lighting techniques and depth of field as well as the rule of thirds.
While these basics remain true no matter the technology, I think my father would have enjoyed our digital age. I imagine the spontaneity of today’s point and shoot cameras with their inbuilt cleverness and intuition would have appealed to him. He was not one to harp on about the good old days so I think he would have relished the software now available to amateur photographers.
Today I don’t go anywhere without a camera as I like to illustrate posts with personal images. I enjoyed the process of taking photos, having to wait while they were developed and then being able to analyse them with my father. However, I am equally grateful for digital technology that allows us to snap with abandon and not have to worry about the cost of every photo being developed.
By the time I went overseas in the mid-1970s colour film was the in thing while black and white film became the choice of professionals. I owned a Polaroid camera for a while but the cartridges were expensive.
I met the MOTH (Man of The House) on this overseas trip and together we purchased my Rollei B35 camera which I had until my first digital camera.
I am grateful that my father took time to instil in me a love of photography. I believe it has made me more aware of my surroundings and I notice the detail in things I may otherwise find unremarkable. The benefits of any hobby include stress relief, broadening one’s knowledge base but photography helps to document one’s life journey. As a child I loved looking at old photos of family members and hearing stories about people I never met.
The advent of smart phones and tablets unleashed the photographer in us all. With editing apps that can fix many composition ailments in our digital photos. While I use a smartphone for many photos, if I am looking for photos then I take my Canon EOS 550D DSLR. I enjoy the ritual of lense changes and setting up photo shoots. I also have a point-and-shoot Olympus which I used yesterday to capture this frog sunning himself on a capsicum in our garden.
This post is a partial re-write of a piece written for the Monday Memoir series I did a few years ago. It has been reworked for the A-Z Blogging Challenge that I am participating in this month. My theme for the challenge is personal VALUES and activities and people that add VALUE to my journey. You can read more about the challenge here.