I have always felt that the most powerful use of phtography has always been the recording of family memories. Yes, there are billions of poorly composed 3x5 pictures forever buried in boxes in basements and attics, but one simple image from years ago is a powerful reminder of who we were and were we came from.
With that being said, I was rummaging through some old boxes above my folks garage, looking from an old SX70 camera when I came upon my dad's Kodak Pony 35mm camera, with two rolls of Kodachrome and a dozen flashbulbs. This is the camera that took all those photos of Christmas and vacations and birthday parties of my family in the 60s. It was replaced by a Pentax 35mm then a Cannon.
I had forgot about this camera, thinking it had been long ago sold at a garage sale or traded at a camera store. My dad says he told me we still had it several years ago, but I was probably to occupied with my 4x5 and trying to be an "artiste" to really care.
Now years later I find the camera in the box and regard it as a special gift. I show my dad and he picks it up, fiddles with it cocks and releases the shutter a few times and says it sounds pretty good. I don't think the kodachrome is probably any good so I go get some film and he takes some images of my family and gives me the camera. I go home and begin to use it with my kids and will save the the flash bulbs for Christmas.
It seems to be a beautiful thing to create images of my family the same way my folks did with me and my borthers. If I could find some good kodachrome and someone to process it it would provide a wonderful photographic continum for our family.
But I don't think I will take it on to many vacations. To much chance of getting it lost or broken. I would rather loose a $2000 camera than the Pony. What I will do is take to my repair guy or contact the guys at SK Grimes to have it CLA. The lens is pristine and there is just a little wear around the sutter release from all the use.
That camera made magic even if the slides were viewed only around holidays or when company came over. Now I am looking back through the metal boxes holding hundreds of slides of trips to California or Colorado or to see family in Missouri or NC. I find one of me age 3 standing with my older brothers and my dad beaming proudly infront of a brand new red 62 chevy impala. Here is anohter of my mom helping my little brother pull the blue foil wapping off a present when he was 2 in 1966. And some remind me of not so happy memories. But the memories are there to share with my kids.
Now I have that same camera that faithfully recorded the past. Maybe this little camera still has some magic left in it.
And that is what 35mm is for. Capturing the agrigate of little memories that, outside of family, will never be considered art but will be priceless to generations. I still try to make one or two frames speak for entire ideas and events although it may take rolls of film to get those few individual shots. My dads camera has a bad shutter. It remains in a box. I think there is a box somewhere that has an old brown brownie in it. I am not sure I can find 127 film for it. I now have about 31 35mm to 5x7 prints to do in the darkroom tonight - out of several rolls in B&W that will have the same purpose - to journal ideas, times and events. That is very cool you can honor your dad's photographic legacy with his old camera. - Frank