My abiding memories of our summer holidays as a child are from the back of an old Chrysler Horizon (red) with my older brother, younger sister and aunt Peggy, traipsing around the west of Ireland. My mother had a cheap Kodak Instamatic - the one that took those 126 drop in cartridges. I never understood why all her photographs either had people's heads missing or plants growing out of them. My Aunt Peggy had a real camera though. I don't remember the make or model. All I remember is that it was a 35mm rangefinder........and she always shot 'slides'. Always Kodak!
Nobody was allowed to touch Peggy's camera. I would gaze longingly at her pride and joy as she would lovingly clean the lens with the sleeve of her old woolen cardigan. Ouch!
Around the same time, whilst snooping in an old box under my parents bed, I came across, what looked like an ancient camera (it had bellows). It was a No.1A Autographic Kodak Junior camera, manufactured in 1914. It was my mothers camera. She had been given it by her father, who brought it back from France after the Great War. It's now worth around £25 pounds (in good condition), but to me it's priceless.
Although, I didn't realize it, my fascination with cameras had begun. It would be years later before I developed a fascination with Photography.
I bought my first camera when I was 15. It was a Kodak 110 film camera. I can't remember how much it cost, but I do remember that it was a special offer on the back of a weetabix box. I also recall that it took more than 28 days to deliver after I had ordered it.
That camera was followed a year later by a little Ricoh 35 ZF rangefinder. It took me a whole year to save for!. I loved that camera. It took 'real' 35mm film. I felt so grown up. However, it wasn't a big camera and to a 16 year old kid, small means amateur and big means professional. It was just a matter of time (another year actually) when I managed to cobble together the funds to buy my first SLR - the wonderful Russian (USSR at the time) Zenit EM - the poor mans Practica!
By my 18th birthday or within 4 months of getting my first 'proper' job, I had purchased a Pentax K1000, followed by a second hand Pentax MX. By my 22nd birthday I was the proud owner of a Pentax ME Super. What a fantastic little camera that was.
College, girl friend, wife, career and children all followed and in the succeeding 22 years I only snapped kids birthday parties and holidays.
Two years ago, I was going to the US on a family holiday and I took a notion to buy a 'proper' digital SLR. I didn't realize the profound impact this purchase would have on me. Overnight, it rekindled a long lost passion. Rediscovering that passion has been a real joy.
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