Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A thing from the past

I love Josie's new prompt for the writing workshop - it mirrors about my earlier blog Conversation with a chair! but this time instead of a conversation I am making a connection with the past that highlights how the world we have lived is so remote from that of our children.

When my Dad was 21 his father gave him a camera, a very special rangefinder type of camera. When I first saw the camera it made me gasp  - my photographic heros had all used a camera like that to capture some of the most iconic and beautiful images of the twentieth century. From Brassai to the best of Magnum they had all used the rangefinder.

Just picking up the camera I could feel part of  history -  I could pretend that  I was in some tiny way linked with past geniuses.  I could hardly believe it when a while later my father gave me his beloved camera for Christmas. I was trembling as I held it; tears gave way to a silly grin that I could not shake all day.

Over the next few months I dedicated myself to getting to know the camera...well. To start off with it took me an age to take each shot;  I painstakingly checked the light meter, calculated the apperture and tried to learn the tricks to taking a photo worthy of the camera.

As I got to know the camera it started to become an extension of my own outlook. With time I could almost set up the camera at waist level before bringing it up to my eye to check and shoot. As this happened I felt the link with my Father, my Grandfather and icons of early photography deepen. I am not making any claims for my skills, but for the camera itself - and how rewarding it was to get to know.

So where is the camera now? Poised by the front door, ready for the next photo opportunity? Sadly, it lies gathering dust under my bed. Mt daughter's generation have never known film cameras, if you take a shot you immediately check the screen for your instant photographic gratification.

Back to my chair theme. What would the camera think? Would it be upset to be knocked off its throne? The camera would be able to cope - having been at the avant guarde of engineering it would be excited by the future and step aside gracefully. As for me, I can not help but to feel upset that the Pickle never feel that link to my forebarers and icons.


  1. Lovely post. It's amazing how much emotion an object can cause.

    Perhaps it's time to take it out and pop it someone where you can look at it everyday. It may not need to be used, but it will always be useful for the memories.

  2. What a lovely post and a great memory. It's amazing how an object can cause such a stir in our emotions. I remember film cameras, they really took a certain type of picture. Not as sharpe as they are now but a memory. If that makes sense. x

  3. I really enjoyed reading this and have complete camera might be wonderful in it's way but I much prefer film :)

  4. i really enjoyed reading this too. i am obsessed with cameras, but hate the control we have over our photos these days. you can't beat the day of the film...
    lovely post


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