A Thousand Lost Memories

in #nostalgia10 months ago

It all began with the re-discovery of my old point and shoot camera. It's a 35mm plastic point and shoot camera that I bought at Boots Pharmacy in Canterbury. It wasn't my first camera, by any means - I had owned two cameras previously, but it was the first one that I purchased with my own money.

I actually remember the two cameras I owned before that one - the first was a 110 format, no-name brand camera. The second was also a no-name brand, but a 35mm format camera - both presents from my dad. The terrible, and only, photos I have from my high school graduation were taken with that second camera.

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One batch of cameras during a clear out some years ago, taken with another film camera - the Olympus 35RD on AgfaPhoto Vista 200 in terrible light. It was the first roll of film I shot on that camera as a test. I was also testing a new chemical developer.


At the point of taking the above photograph, my cameras numbered just over a thousand I think. I had a severe case of GAS - "Gear Acquisition Syndrome" as it's known in the photography and other geeky communities.

After going back to shooting film for a while with my little Boots camera, which actually wasn't that bad, I decided see what else I could get. I cleaned up my dad's old Kiev 4 SLR and gave it a go. I actually found some film in it which had been left unfinished! I developed it and managed to squeeze out 4 photos including one of my grandpa who passed away in the early 1980's! There was also a photo of my uncles and aunts on my dad's side when they were teenagers. Super awesome stuff.

I showed the photos to my parents and it almost brought tears to their eyes. I think the rest of the film was exposed since the back must have been opened a few times over the past 25 years or so. Only the frames closer to the beginning were saved, as they'd have been shielded from exposure.


Fading memories

As I type this, I still have one roll of film that I haven't finished that is stuck in an old camera. The battery contacts have broken off so I can't rewind the film to get it out to develop it. I know I can have this done in a dark room/bag, but I don't know why I haven't done it.

When the technology moved to digital from film, a lot of people changed over and just abandoned their film camera in whatever state it was in. It was love at instant gratification, and they never looked back. Many of these cameras ended up in the dump, charity shops or auctions.

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Photo of one of my best friends on the way to class back in the day. It was the first time he'd ever seen snow


More often than not, when I buy a new (old) camera, or acquire it in some other way, I find film still in it. At times I've developed the film and found some interesting photos. Mostly, they're are of people on holiday or at a party. That's usually what average people used their cameras for.

There were, of course, fewer selfies and photos of food back then, since there was a limitation on how many photos one could take, and a cost associated with it. People were more mindful of what photos they took I think. As such, they tended to be photos of special events, or something interesting.

There were, however, a lot of photos of pets back then too. It turns out that people have always loved their dogs and cats, so yes, cat photos have always been a thing :)

The photos I find often make me a little sad though. I can see some of them would be quite valuable to the owners if they were to ever rediscover them like I did with some of mine. I see photos of elderly family members that have probably passed away or of people on what seems like a once-in-a-lifetime type holiday.

I've seen people set up websites or pages on FaceBook and Flickr dedicated to posting found photos in the hope that someone might recognise the subjects, or environment, and contact the original owners of the photos. I have been thinking of doing something similar with those photos.

The only thing stopping me from just doing that - dumping all the photos on there for instance, is the issue of privacy. Who knows if these people want their photos online? Maybe some of those photos were of things done in secret. Who knows?

In this day and age, photographs have lost their value. Any one photo is swimming in an ocean of meaningless smartphone snaps of utter randomness. Because we are unable to visit the past, however, those photographs will for ever be precious.



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Ahh the sweet reasoning of obsession ;) Seriously though life crufts up and we attract the spoils of our passions. I've had far too many computers and printers and network switches disk drives expansion cards laptops etc.. over the course of my work that I thought 'might come in handy' but truth is tech moves fast and it does not take long for things to become obsolete then what do you do with it all?

Life laundry is a real thing. Everyone needs it.

True! Technology is the worst thing to collect since it moves so fast. I still have PC cards from my first laptop haha. I'm finally going to throw those away during the next clear out :) . If I ended up needing one to access some obscure device, then eBay is my friend. I'll let other people do the hoarding for me :D

That's a lot of cameras! I think I still have a couple around. Got quite a collection of digital cameras too, but even those don't get used much. Photography was different when there was so much cost and time involved. I see a few cameras in charity shops.

I've got a plastic Brownie I found when cleaning the mother in law's flat. Not sure it's worth getting film for that. There wasn't any in it.

You'd be lucky to find usable film for a brownie these days. Maybe on eBay. If you have a dark room and have the know how, you can probably use 120 film with it, but it involves much geekry and nerdology :)

I think it uses 120. It's not like you will get great pictures from it. It's about as basic as you can get. Those 110 cameras were popular for a while, but the negatives were tiny. That whole industry built around film must have got a lot smaller now.

I might point out here, although you would not get great photos from it, the film and prints will still last longer than your flash memory card and/or DVD/Bluray disk.

Food for thought...

If they take 120 natively, then that's fine. They still make those new. It's the second most popular format after 35mm. I have two brownies but I've never used them. They seem to be basically pin hole cameras

Did I read that right - you had a thousand cameras???

That is impressive...

I love digging through old photos and films. I am just working through 20 hours of cine film that my dad took in the 60's and 70's. Been putting the editing highlights on 3Speak to share the era and the memories.

I did. More than half of them I didn't actually use. Not enough time nor money :)
I bought many on auction, sometimes a hundred at a time, for very little money.

Those can be amazing memories for sure. And everything looked so cool in those days.

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