I was in a local photography store recently, and they have a collection of old cameras in glass cases around the store. I started thinking back about when I really started getting into photography. It was in junior high school when the bug really bit me. Back then they still had decent arts programs in school, and photography was part of a graphic arts class. It was some of the best times I had in school.
I cut my teeth with a medium format film camera, a Yashica-D. We shot black and white photos, and had to develop and print our own photos. I spent a lot of time in darkroom back then, learning every aspect of developing the film, using a variety of enlargers and creating prints. Instead of "dodging" and "burning" in photoshop with the click of the mouse, it had to be done using various techniques when making the print. Side note, In those days, I wish I had the school age pickup line for girls I heard years later...so you want to go into the darkroom and see what develops? (OK, stupid now, but way cool back then, trust me)
After many class projects completed, and being the responsible young kid I was, they let me start taking photos for the school. Mostly for the newsletters at first, then eventually for the school yearbook. Looking back, I guess that was the first time my work was published. I wanted to include a couple of those photos in this blog post, if I can only find those yearbooks, maybe I'll update this. Anyway, I took all the team photos for the sports teams, the clubs, football games, candid photos of the teachers, and so on, all published in multiple years of yearbooks. It was really fun, and the bonus was that it got me out of class a lot. As it turns out, it was better education that what I was missing in history or english.
So after leaving that photography store last month, I left there wondering if I could find that same model camera for sale on eBay. Sure enough, there were a bunch of them available, many in bad shape, but when I started looking I was thinking to get one to have on the shelf, so it don't matter. After a bit of searching, I found that the working versions were actually not that much more than the old broken down ones. A quick look around, and you can still get 120 roll film easily, so why not get one that works? After a fierce bidding war with some person in New York, I won the bid on a working Yashica-D camera from some guy in Albuquerque. It arrived a few days later, and the first thing I did was use my work-horse Canon 5D/III and took the photo below of my newest/oldest camera.
A bit of a strange feeling...taking a photograph of a camera. As I clicked the shutter, I wondered what that old camera had seen, what memories it created, what moments it froze in time, what parts of the world had it been in, and how many lives it touched. Pretty deep thoughts about an old camera.
I can't wait to get some120 film and capture some new memories with it. Stay tuned for a future blog post with images from that camera.
Oh, and thanks to my photography teacher, Mr. Jay Brewer of San Diego. You changed my life.
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