Photography is not a forte I have ever possessed. I don’t take a good picture nor make a pretty one, and my art usually only extends from my hand down through a pencil. Perhaps a paintbrush, once in a blue moon!
I do however, love vintage photography, cameras, the arduous dark-room process.. you can create some beautiful photographs that way and I would spend hours upon hours in my college years not just playing hide and seek in there with my friend Ross, but experimenting like a squeamish Frankenstein with all of the exposures, double exposures and fixing processes. I was alight with the excitement you could get by bringing in a new roll of film to be developed and played with.
Of course, I always asked my Photography teacher to help me. He was an ex-army officer, and you could tell. A smack around the back of the head with a text book was a reward for taking too much in class, but I thought he was wonderful, and found his company very inspiring.
My mother gave me an old camera that had belonged to my Grandfather, and it was like holding precious glass- He was my inspiration and fountain of knowledge as a child, I watched my first Dracula film with him at the age of four and would ask him if I ever needed to know anything at all. He’d always have an answer for me, and if not, he’d look it up. To have something of his welled tears in my eyes at the thought. He has been diagnosed with Dementia recently and all of that knowledge is disintegrating..
The camera was so old that the rubber started to crack away around the lens, so now I’m much too afraid to use it until I fix it with elasticated glue (a project for another time).
I was given by an old but now distant family friend, an ancient set of cameras that he had once utilised for his own art,and told me that since he had seen that I was an aspiring photographer and learner , I could have them so long as I promised to use them..
He gave me a bin-bag full of cameras and sent me on my way!
There were old polaroids, Box cameras, old Pentax, Kodax, ‘wind up’ cameras that people took on holiday with them.
My favourite by far however, was this one- It stole my heart away!
It’s grubby and old, but I would have it no other way. In its simplicity it suits me very well!
I contrived to use the camera straight away.
Weeks went by, then months and now it has been around two years, I’ve still not taken a picture with this beautiful object.
Yesterday I took it from its space on my shelf and turned it around in my hands. I don’t know why, but it had never occurred to me to open it, and upon doing so I found a used roll of film! I have no intention of throwing this away, and am instead more curious to see what memories it hides. I’ve done some light Urban Exploring in the past few years and once found some undeveloped photo film in a house that was set to be demolished- I took them to be developed where I was told they would have to send them away to be printed as they were so old! It took a few weeks but the pictures were so sad- a happy couple in front of their beautiful house and greenhouses with their beloved boxer dog- now the house is long gone but when I found the film it was rotting where it stood with all of the furniture still inside, the greenhouses in shatters.
(I’ll make another post on the house and the photos when they’re recovered from the depths of my bookshelves and piles of letters, and when I can rummage to find some images left from exploring the ruins.)
I went to see a camera expert today and he told me that the camera was in good working order, and there was film easily available that would not cost more than £6. Not only that, but it would only be around £8 to get the old film developed, so I have a project laid out for me!
If I can take photographs as beautiful as this—- I’ll have not tried in vain!
Either way, I am sure to have some interesting results and an adventure quite soon- this going to and fro from work gets sickening after a while!
Do any of you still use old cameras and have any beautiful images to share? Do you prefer them or are they just a hassle now that we have things as easy as digital?
Let me know, I look forward to hearing any comments!