My dear Grandpa Frank, passed away many years ago now. Without his passion for photography, I wouldn't be interested now. I certainly wouldn't have the main tool of my obsession, my Eastern Block powerhouse, my Praktica LTL.
Grandpa Frank was quite a gruff person, not harsh, but the ‘grandparenting’ was largely left to Grandma. This was unless the grandparenting included one of his hobbies. His garage was full of powertools, pillar drills, saws, even a recessed pit in the floor for car maintenance, and when we got involved with any of these things, he had all the time in the world, we made wooden cars, saws, all sorts of things together. He led an analogue lifestyle when that was all there was!
His other, and probably his most favourite of hobbies was photography. We have an HDMI TV, a media centre streaming our photos direct to our tv, blah blah blah, but none of this compares to how special, how amazing it was when Frank would get out his slide projector, darken the living room of their home in Blackpool, England and show us any of the hundreds and hundreds of slides he had photographed over the years.
He had the most amazing landscapes of northern England, and some wonderful abstracts and ‘light painting’ experiments of long ‘bulb’ exposures of the Blackpool Illuminations. One of my personal favourites was a picture of a fly on some electrical tape. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was wonderful, and isn’t that the spirit of Lomography? He had it before it was invented.
I wish I had some of these to scan and show you. What I can show you, is that the Praktica is still in full steam. I was lucky enough to inherit it, with its standard 50mm lens, a 28mm wide angle lens and 110mm telephoto, all by Carl Zeiss, each has the most amazing characteristics. These photos recently shot with it show that after 30 or 40 years the camera is still more exciting to use than any Digital camera I may own, it’s the difference between driving a modern Japanese family car, or a Triumph Spitfire. Which would you rather be seen in?
Frank was keen on experimenting, he passed this spirit down to me. Here are some close ups shot on Fuji Sensia 100 and cross processed using his Praktica.
But I digress…
Thank you Grandpa Frank, thank you for the inspiration, and thank you for the gift that brought me back from Digital to Analogue photography and the start of my growing collection (which now features a Diana F+, a La Sardina, soon a Lubitel B and a Holga).