when i was almost 5 i was given a mickey mouse camera and soon after a kodak flashfun ...
in high school and college i took photography electives ... and began using a darkroom.
1976 bought a Pentax K1000 with a 55mm SMC lens to take pictures of my sons. It was all I could afford at the time. Took mostly slides (most economical at the time). That lasted only a few years before the camera went into storage. ln 2002 I dusted it off to take pictures of the grandsons. Took mostly colour prints until I took a course in b&w darkroom techniques. Discovered that I could (a) change the lens, (b) buy used equipment on e-Bay (had disposable income), and (c) do more than just print b&w 8x10 prints. I've never looked back. I now own a plethora of camera and darkroom equipment in 35, 6x6, and 4x5 formats (have to sell my Pentax gear soon. Keeping the Nikon gear though). I also teach b&w darkroom techniques at the art gallery (the former instructors don't shoot film anymore).
The fix is in!
Thanks for posting your stories all, they're all interesting. Isn't it funny that we start out being intrigued by cameras and then we learn that it isn't the camera that makes the picture?
I suppose my interest started when i was a child. I was always fascinated by my father's Zeiss Ikonta folder; he'd twiddle the knobs and push the button. He always seemed to know the right settings to use and his pictures were always pretty good, at least to my limited understanding. Dad was a photographic printmaker in Australia before WWII so I might have inherited some developer from him! :-)
Then when I was 15 I wanted a 110 happy snappy camera because I thought they were the bees knees; a teacher told me differently and I eventually bought a Lubitel 166B TLR. That taught me about focussing and exposure. After the shutter broke, I had my first SLR, a second-hand Edixa Prismat, and a couple of years later I blagged some darkroom time, caught the bug and learnt a hell of a lot.
At one stage I thought I'd give it all up but now, after a Degree with Honours in photography, the acts of photographing, developing and printmaking and increasingly the use of photography as a form of visual communication still intrigue me. I still think of myself as an amateur and have never made serious money from photography, but I thank my teacher that I didn't buy that crappy old 110 camera! :-)
No body in my family is even remotely creative and the only cameras that were around when I was young were those rectangle shaped 110 cameras. They came out each holiday and we would pose next to things. So there was no gear to get interested in and no creative environment at home.
My interest came from wanting to record things, I first tried video, then cine before settling on photography. The creative aspects of photography came much later.
Always been drawn to cameras in some form - well, anything that has a 'record' button generally. Making photos of my Subbuteo games with my Dad's Nikon when I was little, as if the images were aerial shots of a real life football game. That must have been the first time I was creative with a camera. Then the more journalistic shots of the winning team celebrating with the massively oversized trophy at their side - scaled up, this thing would have been 15ft tall.
It's been pretty organic with me. I think if something had 'triggered' my interest in photography, I would have got bored quite quickly. A natural curiosity leads us to these strange pastimes, rarely divine intervention - the box brownie at the end of a rainbow myth. Well, there was that time that I met Edward Weston's ghost in my loft.
Last edited by batwister; 04-09-2012 at 11:54 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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When I was about 4 years old I wandered into the kitchen for a drink of water late at night. What I found was a very strange and magical event. My parents were surrounded by a deep red glow and all kinds of weird stuff was set around. They normally wouldn't have been up this late in the kitchen. I walked up to my father who was holding up what looked like a wet piece of paper with something on it. When he saw me he dropped the paper back into the funny square pan he was soaking it in. I think they must have seen the wonderment and amazement in my face so they let me stick around for a few minutes.
My dad took a flat metal thingy out of the big metal thingy with a light in it and replaced the thin flexy thingy with a different flexy thingy. Then he turned the dial on the weirdest clock I'd ever seen and opened a cardboard box and removed what looked like paper and made the light come on in the big thingy. He took the paper, with nothing on it, from under the big thingy and put it into one of the weird square cooking pans. In the meantime my mom was lifting me up to see in the big pan that my dad had placed the paper in. What the Captain Kangaroo?!? A picture magically started to fade in. He moved the paper from one funny-smelling square pan of water to another smelly thing of water then rinsed it under the sink. He held the picture at my level so I could see it. The magic picture was of, as I remember it now, a very lovely lady. After that it was off to bed for me and... I'd better not get up again.
I'd never before seen either of my parents doing darkroom work nor did I ever again. That moment always stuck in my mind but I didn't learn until I was about 9 that they were doing photography. That was when I wanted to get a camera but received a crappy Kodak Instamatic. I tried to like it but never could warm up to it. It was later, when I found a decent camera stored away in a closet that I found a true interest in photography.
Oh... and I didn't find out until my mid-twenties what my parents were printing that night were nudes of a mutual friend who asked my dad to do her a favor and my mom was apparently perfectly okay with that. Unfortunately, my dad didn't let me see the "good" photos... only one in which the lady was fully clothed. What the hell was he thinking?
Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble
What a wonderful reply.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I was given a Canon EOS to play with when I as 14 and shortly thereafter, I lost one of my best friends....1 roll of images that I have cherished ever since. Those are the only 'hard documents' of our friendship and I began photographing family and important friends ever since...and continued losing people close to me up until the last few years*. Photography, especially film, acted as the only sort of tangibility to those lost that I now have.
*I lost one close family member or friend once per year for 6 years in a row and now have been 3 years without. Our local newspaper dubbed my graduating class "cursed".
Yeah... it's a great memory.
Originally Posted by cliveh
You're a memory recorder. Memories which can always be shared forever by others. That's a beautiful thing.
Originally Posted by Klainmeister