Woolen Mill Studio

March 20, 2016

FIRST CAMERA

 

Have you ever had a memory of something so clear in your mind that you know existed but after awhile you start to question yourself?  I'm fairly certain that somewhere in my archives of 'stuff' is the first picture of me with my new camera (the picture to the left is not that picture but a later one with the same camera).  The camera, a Kodak Brownie Starmite with the 127 role film and the small AG-1 bulbs, was a birthday gift from my grandfather and grandmother.  I think I was 10 years old.

 

I remember opening the box and my grandfather helping me load the film.  You had to be careful not to allow the roll to unravel and expose the film while inserting the film tab in the take-up reel to get it started.  Once the film canister was inserted into the camera and locked you advanced the film until you saw the '1' in the dark red window on the back of the camera, the first of twelve film frames.  My instructions were to aim the camera through the small viewfinder and hold the camera very still while I pulled down on the shutter release.  I was too young to think to save the first roll of film but I have managed to keep the camera through the years.

 

My entry into photography was approximately 136 years after the first known permanent photograph was taken.  Excusing the quality of the photo to the left, things had substantially improved through the years.  You purchased a roll of film, took your pictures, then had the nearby photo store develop the negatives and make your prints.  It wasn't long before I taught myself how to develop my own film, whereupon I was hooked.

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"When the mania for photography takes hold of a man

it is said to exceed in strength the passion for French cooking.

The camera is as constant a companion as tobacco to a smoker.

One young lawyer who has the disease very bad is having

a camera constructed to look like a couple of law volumes"

 

(The San Francisco Daily Chronicle, 1885)

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