There’s something very special about taking photographs with cameras used by one’s parents or grandparents. It’s truly like holding a piece of history, and every press of the shutter button seemingly signifies reconnection with one’s roots. Many film photography enthusiasts got into the hobby through cameras passed down to them by older relatives, or that they themselves discovered tucked away in their childhood homes.
Such is the case with Japanese film photographer Natsuko Kato (@natzko82), who found her grandfather’s Pentax Auto 110 and subsequently the last images he had taken with it, some 40 years ago. She has since used the heirloom camera to take photos of Hokkaido where she was born and grew up.
Natsuko is a freelance copywriter and branding planner who counts photography as one of her hobbies and interests, aside from art, literature and classical music. She owns a Leica D-Lux 7 digital camera and a Rollei 35 and usually takes nature, landscapes and street photos with it. According to her, her interest in shooting film has to do with its engaging process.
I love the warm light depicted in film photography, the way of releasing the shutter carefully and the excitement of seeing the developed photos. Especially, I think 110 film has a very nostalgic ambience.
I like to take photos of nature like flowers, leaves and landscapes, especially the sea. Street snapshots are interesting. I like to find dramatic moments or beautiful parts in ordinary scenery. When I take photos, I always try to think nothing and let my senses feel free.
Born and raised in Hokkaido, she got to return recently after two years and found out about her grandfather's old camera.
I happened to find a small old camera in a cupboard in my father's house, where my grandfather also used to live. I had no idea about that camera and tweeted about it, then many people advised about the Pentax Auto 110 and 110 film.
I was not sure if the old camera would work, but I decided to try it. When I found the camera, there was still a film in it. I sent the film off to be developed. The film was almost completely degraded but finally I was able to see the view that my grandfather would have seen about 40 years ago from several pictures.
According to Natsuko, she remembers her grandfather owning many cameras and taking many photos of her and her brother. The photos remain archived in their childhood home.
After asking around on Twitter and getting help from fellow film enthusiasts who told her about the 110 format and Lomography's 110 film stocks, she decided to try out the Lomography Tiger Color Negative 110 ISO 200. She said it was a pleasure to have been able to take a photo of her son with her grandfather's Pentax Auto 110 during the Hokkaido visit.
Her photo album of Hokkaido mixes street scenes, cityscape and beach views characterizing Japan's second largest island. Natsuko said Sapporo City especially remains special for her as this is where she's lived the longest. Asked about her favorites in the album, Natsuko chose familiar spots often visited by her and her family, and which she visited recently along with her son.
My favorites are these two photos. The first one is the place that I and my family used to visit when I lived in this town. We can see the unique figure of rocks. And I love the sunset in my hometown so much. The moment the sun sets into the clear sea and turns the color of the sea red. This photo takes my heart back home.
Do you have favorite photos or stories taken using an heirloom camera? Tell us about it and bring us on a nostalgic trip down memory lane!
written by sylvann on 2022-10-18