Saturday, April 19, 2008
I started with photography because of my dad, and he started because of me.
I'm the first grandchild on one side of the family; so when I was an infant, my grandfather gave my father a 35 mm camera with instruction to take lots of pictures of me. He did, and in the process, found that he liked taking pictures of more than his daughter.
He experimented with landscape and still life, simple manipulation, even developing black and whites in a little darkroom in our basement, and of course, family pictures of myself and my brother, birthday parties and family vacations.
Somewhere along the line, I got involved. I was probably still in elementary school when he and my mom gave me my first 35 mm camera. It was a little plastic thing, nothing fancy, the F-stops (light adjustments) were little neon icons of a sun and a cloud, but it got me started. I went through a couple of those cameras, before I upgraded (One I shattered by dropping it from the top of the bleachers at the local school)
At the same time, my dad was finding vintage cameras that no-one cared about any more at yard sales. He took them home and cleaned them up, a few he experimented with, most are still sitting in a closet in my parents home. They're not practical any more, most you couldn't find film for if you wanted to, but they're wonderful mechanical objects. I work with digital now, but the experience of taking a photograph with a well-designed mechanical film camera is somehow more grounding than pushing a little button.
Eventually, I moved up from the little plastic cameras, to a good 35 mm SLR and then to digital, finding my own aesthetic sensibility(mostly through trial and lots of error) and my passion as I went.
And so, the pictures you're looking at in this post. My digital images of my dad's vintage cameras. They're part of a series I took as a Father's Day present for him, closing the circle, and returning the gift.