This is the camera where it all began.
It was a hand me down, my father’s first,
then mine. An antique when I got it, still
there was, I discovered, magic in it,
a whole new way of seeing,
of capturing, not moments, but stories
and emotions in a single click.
It was trial and error.
Most things worth learning are.
I cannot tell you the photographs I ruined
trying this, trying that, trying
to understand how the greengrey box saw things
and how I could make it see as I did.
I will not say I ever became a master of it,
but I learned it was possible. I learned
to trust my instincts more than my math.
I learned the value of waiting, letting
the image come to me, Patience.
Five generations later, cameras are smarter
than us. I can know less and capture more.
I can make magic and the twenty mistakes
it takes to capture it are less costly,
not costly at all. Even my ego pays no price.
Still, I keep this camera. This brick by today’s standards.
Truly an antique by now, not
for its value or its history in the panorama of photography,
but simply because it was my first teacher
and teachers deserve to honored.
About this poem
Mostly autobiographical. The camera for those of you who are old camera buffs, is an Argus C3, which brought a whole new bunch of people into photography by simplifying things, creating a camera midway between the box cameras with one button, and the SLR cameras with their dizzying array of adjustments.
Teachers deserve to be honored. This one sits on one of my bookshelves.