Tuesday, February 15, 2011

35 years ago . .

While sorting through all of Dad's boxes in his basement, my brother and I found this! This is the camera I learned photography with 35 years ago. It's a c.1950 Voigtlander Bessa 1, 6x9cm (2.25x3.25 inches) format.

Dad was always into photography when he was younger but had pretty much given it up a few years after us kids came along. When I reached 14 years old I asked him to teach me. Dad had better cameras then this one, but he figured this was the perfect learning tool. Everything on it is manual. There is no built-in exposure meter and no range-finder for focusing. You have to estimate the distance from the camera to your subject and understand depth-of-field if you want sharp pictures. You have to know how to use a light meter and how to set the exposure. You only get eight shots per roll of film, too, so you better be sure what you're shooting is worth it. There's no double-exposure lock out either, so if you're not paying attention you'll end up with eight shots on the same frame.

Dad's axiom for good pictures was, sharp lenses, big negatives and smart photographers. This camera had two out of three with me, but I learned.

Here's one of the first images I made with it, processed and printed by me.

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