I received my first camera the Christmas I was nine.
Together with one film.
A twelve exposure.
I hoarded those pictures judiciously. Carefully.
Only taking pictures of very, very special occasions.
And then, only when conditions were especially perfect.
I used up that first film in 32 seconds flat.
We had pictures of wrapping paper.
Kids admiring just-opened gifts nestled in a pile of wrapping paper.
And Mom stuffing more of said wrapping paper into the trash.
Okay, I admit it. Wrapping paper was the most exciting thing I could come up with.
Which says something about my life.
I should also mention, here, that my camera also came with a packet of little bulbs that you could press, one-by-one, into the flash. After they had been used, you pressed a little button and they would be forcibly ejected. This was an especially handy feature when brothers were hanging about. It’s amazing just how fast a brother can move when he has been shot with a little bulb of flaming-hot, molten glass.
Moving on . . .
For the next few years, I snapped pictures of friends.
Doing . . . stuff.
Mine and other peoples.
Most of them blurry and unrecognisable.
“Okay, this is a shot of Great Aunt Maud. Or of Old Faithful. Take your pick.”
In college, I was handed a ‘real’ camera.
With dials and buttons and switches.
And sent forth into the hinterland to ‘take some shots’.
I will admit that my picture-taking had improved.
Now, people were easily differentiated from, say, cakes.
And my basketball players looked like basketball players.
Not the LCC square-dancing team they were usually mistaken for.
On or off the court.
In fact, my picture-taking skills had improved so much that I was given the position of official photographer in our Journalism class.
A promotion that came with its own dark room.
Yessiree. On any given Tuesday evening, I could be found in my darkroom.
Now why does everyone smile when I say that?
I was developing.
Okay, yes, I usually had a young man in there with me.
But, inevitably, their idea of what goes on in a darkroom and mine were vastly different.
Hmmm. I think I know now why they looked so surprised when I told them to, and I quote, “Sit over there and stay out of my way!”
Back to my story . . .
Following college, I was given a ‘point-and-shoot’. A camera that guaranteed perfect pictures. Without any input from me.
For several years, it faithfully recorded early years of marriage. Baby arrivals. And family life.
With one ore two side trips into ‘someplace green’.
Until that momentous occasion when it died.
Never to go again.
After a normal grieving period, I got another point and shoot.
No more films.
No more trips to the store, picking up or dropping off.
That little camera and I were inseparable.
When I got my new phone.
This is why.
|Edmonton, Alberta at sunset.|
I will admit that I sometimes think back to my little flashbulbs.
And the ejector that was so effective.
But only fleetingly.