This week’s Red Dress Club‘s Red Writing Hood prompt is a picture prompt about cameras, and it is limited to 400 words.
It can be fiction or non-fiction. I chose non-fiction.
Nineteen fifty-nine was an important year. Alaska and Hawaii became states, Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, the Guggenheim Museum opened in New York City, Barbie was introduced to the world, and I got my first camera, a little Kodak Brownie.
I have been intrigued with photography ever since I saw my first disks of Hawaii and Belgium on my View-Master. I wanted to one day take pictures like that, vivid images (of course they were in 3-D, but what did my little ten-year-old mind know?) that made the viewer feel as if he or she were right there watching the lava flow from a volcano or standing in front of the Grand Place in Brussels.
My father was quite a good amateur photographer and had rolls upon rolls of negatives in little canisters. His favorite subject was my mother, and no wonder, for she was a beauty, for sure. I, on the other hand, was less selective. Anything and everything was worthy of my snapping a picture and capturing it forever. At least until my father noticed I was going through film as if it were as cheap as gasoline and told me I was responsible for the developing costs and the cost of new film. I got serious. I saved my photo ops for occasions like going to the Museum of Natural History in New York City with my father or to the United Nations, or visiting my cousins on summer vacations in Ohio.
I remember the anticipation I felt with every new roll, threading the end of it onto the spool, closing the camera, and then advancing the film until the number one appeared in a little window. Now I had twelve pictures I could take. Twelve opportunities I didn’t want to squander, so I took my time and picked my subjects as if they were going to be on the cover of Life magazine.
I have albums and albums filled with pictures I’ve taken as well as many trays of slides, but none of them are from those early years when I got my first camera. Where did those pictures go? I can’t imagine that I would have thrown them away, but they are nowhere to be found. Along with their disappearance are the memories they captured. As I get older, I find it more difficult to recapture the past. I sometimes wish I could be injected with truth serum that would resurrect my childhood, allowing me to see it with clarity. Those pictures would have been a good substitute.