For the past few months I have been cleaning up the garage so that I can turn it into a studio for my Pet Portrait photography. While going through a box I came across an old Kodak Tourist Camera that was my Paternal Grandmothers. Looking at this camera brought back some memories of my first trip into photography.
For those that do not know, The Kodak Tourist were the last in the long line of American made folding roll film cameras from Kodak. The original Tourist was first introduced in 1948 and was upgraded in 1051. This mode featured a redesigned top cover and viewfinder. It uses 620 film, which was discontinued in 1995 so guess it will just be a knickknack on my shelf.
The first time I remember using a camera was 4 October 1965. I remember the day very well as it was the day Pope Paul the 6th first visited the USA. I was in the 6th grade at Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach. Like all the other Catholic School in NYC, this was the biggest day in our lives, bigger than Easter. The Pope was visiting the USA and he was landing at JFK. So we all were loaded into a school bus and driven to one of the access road out of the airport. Before we left my father gave a Polaroid camera. It was loaded with the 600 film and it only had 8 shots. Here we were, every Catholic School in Queens and Brooklyn lined up on the side of the road, Kids being kids and Nun acting like Kids, waiting to see the Holy Father. Just as we were getting out of control, somebody yelled they see the escort. I take the camera in hand and try to shoot as the car caring the Pope, there was no need for a Pope Mobile back then. Needless to say was I got were 8 B/W shots of a blurry Pope and my friends But it was the start.
I also found my Fathers old Argus Range Finder 35 mm camera. Popular in the 1950, they are called "rangefinder" cameras because they focus using a dual-image rangefinding device. You turn a ring, and when two superimposed images line up, you're in perfect focus. With a rangefinder camera, you never look through the lens. My father used Kodachrome film as I think that 35 mm print film was not around when they took their honeymoon in 1951. In fact when my parents past away I got a box of old slide and some 8mm film. One of these day I have to go through them and transfer them to digital so that the kids can see Grandma and Grandpa when they were younger. This year I have it on my list of things to do is to get some film for this camera and try to learn how to use it.
Finally I found my very first 35mm camera. It was a Fuji point and shoot that used 35mm film. I purchased it before I went to Japan on a 2 week business trip in 1980. That was a memorable trip as we were there in during the Lake Placid Winter Olympic and I remember watching the game on Japanese TV without English subtitles. I still have some of the pictures in an album, but over time they have faded, but I still remember the good time I had on the trip
Since that first time in 1965 I have had many different camera and memories. The Christmas Santa left my first Kodak Instamatic Camera and going to town taking picture. It used the 126 film and had a flash cube. My first Digital Camera in 1996 that I purchased with some of my Kodak Bonus. I still have some of the files from when I went to Bologna and Venice on one of my last business trips to Italy. Unfortunately the file format was before JPEG was popular and was proprietary to Kodak. I found a program that could convert the format a while ago, but never did all the photos. That is why I now print my favorite photos so I do not have to rely on old file formats. I did convert the pictures of the Kids so that they are still available.
Well that is my walk down memory lane. Weather it’s an old faded B/W or a 50Meg pixel digital file it is a record of a point in time of our lives and the lives of the one’s we love.