I recently rediscovered analogue photography and this is the story of the camera that started it all. Not the camera that helped me re discover photography but the camera that helped me discover it in the 1st place, and how it will always be inextricably linked with my childhood.
Having never been inspired by my digital photographs it was a joy to find my mum’s old trip 35. I guess you could call this the camera that started it all for me, and in many ways you’d be right. However, soon after I found mum’s camera I found my old photo album with the first photos I ever took, lovely faded square frame things. The camera was a hand me down Kodak Instamatic 255X.
Image by Cezar Popescu:http://www.flickr.com/photos/atelierelealbe/3700903154/in/photostream/
I was 4 or 5 at the time and my granddad asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I replied that I wanted a camera. I’d recently been on some day trips with my parents for half term. All the grownups had cameras with and were taking photo, I instantly wanted one. My birthday came and with my present from Nan and Granddad was a box all wrapped up. I ripped the paper off and was suddenly the owner of my very 1st actual working camera. It came in a black box with a clear Perspex lid through which you could see the camera sat in orange plastic with a blue colored glass cube. I remember asking what the cube was and mum said it was a flash but that I had to save it for special occasions, because it would only work 4 times and we couldn’t get anymore.
I could not wait to start taking photos, but had to. Mum told me that the camera needed a “funny” type of film, and I remember how grumpy dad was as he looked and swore through all the draws up stairs to see if they had any. I had to wait a whole week before I could use the camera which seemed like a life time at that age. I guess they must have been as they were phasing out 126 films. Eventually dad came home from work one evening and had a film for me. I ran up to my bed room and pestered him to show me how to load it. That evening I took my very first photos in our back garden of my parents and my little brother, and kept taking photos until they took the camera off me because I was going to run out of film. After that I took a couple of photos every night for the rest of the week, in our garden and around the village.
Soon enough it was summer and that meant Holidays. We went to Cornwall and for a weekend in London and I felt it was my duty to take some holiday photos. These were mainly photos of the sea side and the tower of London, although I did take a photo of one house just because it had big plastic butterflies stuck on the side of it. I guess I took photos of everything that mattered to a 6 year old boy, snow men, battle ships, my friends at school, and the sunflower I grew (although it wasn’t actually in the frame properly). My personal favorite is one taken whilst hiding round the corner from my late grandfather, but I’m probably just being sentimental.
When Christmas came around I received another camera. This time it was brand new and took normal 35mm films. I could use it more often because of the film type and it still gave good results, but it never inspired me. It was another 17 years till I found the Trip 35 but I’ll always look back to that year and the camera that lit the spark for me.
I have a new 225X now but can’t decide whether to use it or just keep the good memories I have with this little gem.