Saturday, July 21, 2007

    The History of the Camera & Me

    I'm getting used to the new camera, and dare I say, I even may be starting to like it, to *prefer* it ( gasp ! ). It has some pretty tricky features i've never used before, that I can't wait to try out - special settings for taking pics of stars, of fireworks, in candlelight, etc etc.

    Since I really hate using flash photography, i'm hoping my night/dull lighting pics will really improve. It also has a 'backlight' feature, which illuminates the subject without any discernable 'flash'. Pretty snazzy.

    So this morning, when reading all buttoned up, I got to thinking about the olden days and my life behind the lens.

    I got my first camera in the 4th Grade. For reasons never entirely clear, we left town in the middle of the night, to start a new life, somewhere else. I'm not sure what happened to our furnishings, but this was the start of the 3yrs in the caravan. We used to eat rabbits that my dad shot with his .22, and fish that he caught with his rod.

    I haven't eaten rabbit since, and refuse to cook fish in my home.

    Anyway, it was very sad, as I just came home from school and we left that night. Or early the next morning, I can't remember.
    ( And you thought my '8 Things' meme covered it ? I hardly scratched the surface .. )

    Anyway, as I had no inkling of any of this, I never got to say goodbye to my friends. I have a feeling the camera may have been to create more of a feeling of adventure, and to make up for the sudden uprooting.

    I was very sad, but I did love that camera.
    Even though I knew it was cheap and nasty as soon as I laid eyes on it. And it came with the UGLIEST camera case - poo-brown vinyl shaped like a toaster with a wrist strap.
    I think I was more upset about the ugly case than anything else.

    It looked like this:

    A clunky Hanimex made out of lightweight, cheap plastic.
    It made a thick "dunk" noise when you clicked the button, then a dull clacking noise as you manually wound-on the film :)
    It took those weird film cartridges that looked like a magic carpet - '126' seems to ring a bell ?

    So this camera did me well for many years, although it was starting to embarrass me. When I went on a school excursion ( usually to Canberra or country NSW towns like Gundagai and Junee ) for art excursions or sports canivals ( I cheered. I don't do sport ), I had the shittiest camera out of everyone.

    So by the time I was about 16, i'd saved up for this:
    The Konica POP!. It was RED, peoples, shiny, metal ( not plastic ), and it had a BUILT-IN FLASH .. which .. POPped up !! So freaking exciting.
    It was the best camera i'd ever seen in my life. It was HOT.
    I *loved* this camera .. oh, and it had a LENS CAP - how professional !!

    I took this camera to New Zealand, I took this camera to the USA.
    I took this camera to Uni, where i'm not sure what happened, but it got water in the back of it and rusted out.

    At the time though, my boyfriend was a Fine Arts major with a 35mm SLR, so I didn't suffer.

    When we broke up, I moved to Melbourne and bought something cheap and nasty from K-Mart. I remember it had automatic wind-on, which made a cool whirring noise. And it was silver. Nice.
    It didn't last long though. Perhaps it got water in it too ?
    I'm not usually so slack with my belongings, but moving from pillar to post with crappy meagre belongings kept in dubious lodgings and houses of damp - stuff happened.
    It was a cheap camera anyway, and took crap shots.
    I missed my Konica.

    I'm thinking perhaps I should dig up some shots taken with each of these cameras to frame the timeline.
    Corderoy tunics with thick white tights and long pageboy hairstyles for the Hanimex ... 80's dry frizzed perm for the Konica .. and of course, my utterly stylish self for the modern day pics.



    dancingmorganmouse said...

    Autobiography through cameras, a new genre perhaps.
    I kept acorns in the back of my first camera:)

    tracey petersen said...

    Your camera story has been very revealing about your life. What a traumatic time for a child to be uprooted. I deeply wish that digital cameras had been invented 20 years before they were. My children carry their cameras everywhere. They have 1000s of shots documenting everything they do and all the people that they see. You just couldn't do this with a film camera, it felt too extravagant. I feel like I have missed stuff along the way.

    meggie said...

    Loved your story about your cameras, & as a by story, your younger life.
    Digital cameras are certainly opening a whole new world for oldies like me!

    Melody said...

    Hey I remember my mum used to have that exact same camera! A Hanimex! I've been thinking of digging out my Pentax SLR Film camera, which is honestly not that old. Something about film cameras... But I do seriously love digital! Just about as much as I loved this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Muzbot said...

    Wow, that's a great childhood story. My family had a stint living in a caravan for a while for reasons not entirely clear as well. I was very young, but actually look back on that time with real fond memories... apart from being the temporary "outsider" at school.
    Looking forward to those 80's shots of you! :)

    caramaena said...

    We had that same Hanimex too. I remember the clunking noise it made, very well. I'm trying to remember - is this the type of camera where you had to buy flash cubes for it?

    h&b said...

    DMM - acorns ?!?!?

    tracey & Meggie - I love the digital age..

    Melody & Caramaena - who would have thought they were so popular ? Although I do think they might have been the first 'afforable' style. Yes, those ice-cube flashes. I used to 'collect' spent ones. Using a 'flash' was quite the luxury !

    Muz - a few people have shared their caravan experience. Odd. And I thought I was soooo different ;) I think I will dig out some corresponding shots ... but only the good ones, mind ;)

    Fairlie said...

    Oh, please do dig out some shots from each camera - that would be fascinating!

    I'm a bit of a camera junkie - I have a drawer where old cameras go to die. I think there's about 8 in there ranging from very manual cartridge jobs through to my old favourite SLR 35mm Pentax that I was given (second-hand) for my 14th or 15th birthday (and Christmas and possibly the next birthday...) It still takes better shots than anything I've used since.

    VictoriaE said...

    The timeline would be awesome, please do it
    Now I miss my very trendy grey and pink camera I got in year seven..

    shula said...

    You're whole family did a flit, and you still don't know why?

    Lord, I think the mystery of it would almost kill me.

    I'm going to be wondering about this for, like, ever.

    Oh, and the physie thing? Priceless.

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