I might as well start by confessing that I’m one of those people who, back in 2000, walked around saying that having a camera in a mobile phone was idiotic.
Today, I’m one of the idiots that make the rest of the family wait for me, while I take a snap shot of a beautiful building – or a pile of dog poop that I think looks like Darth Vader.
And I love it.
I love being able to take photos everywhere. I live in a beautiful city – Stockholm, Sweden – and there’s a lot of things to shoot, and share with my friends. I don’t know why I fought the camera-in-a-cell-phone so much.
Especially since I’ve always liked photos. One of my earliest memories is the smell of photo development chemicals.
Every once in a while, my father would take over the bathroom – the only one in our one-bedroom apartment – set up his developing apparatus on top of our washing machine, change the light bulb to a red one, and get to work.
I didn’t like being there too long, because the dark, red room was a little too scary, but I liked going in to see when the photos started to appear on the paper, like magic. And to see how Dad then hung them up to dry on a line over the bath tub.
My first camera was a twin-lens reflex camera, one that you hold in your hands over your chest and look down into the finder, to aim and shoot. Now, my camera was already out of active duty by the time I had got it – that’s why I got it – and it never had any film in it so all I have are mental images. They’re very faded.
My next camera did have film in it, and it also had a flash cube that rotated so that I could take four shots with the flash before changing the cube. Very hi-tech. All I had to do was lift the black and silver camera to my eyes, and press that round, red button. Then reload by closing and opening the camera, like it was a – in my small boy’s mind – a pistol. Instead of looking down into the finder, I lifted the the camera up, closed one eye, and looked through the finder with the other.
It was called Agfamatic 2000. That’s right, two thousand. It was high-tech, and futuristic, and full of optimism.
I’ve had several cameras between the Agfamatic, my first real camera (that worked) and my iPhone, the one that I now mostly carry with me. Some have been very good, some very cheap. I have a half a shoebox full of photos – possibly 50 photos – that cover the first part of my life. Then I have 24 367 photos that I have taken and saved since 2000.
Over my lifetime, the evolution of the photographer has also taken another step.
Instead of looking down when taking a shot – like with my first camera – or having the camera pressed to my face, leaning forward – like I did with Agfamatic 2000 – I now extend my arms and lean backward, placing the camera between me and the object.
And then run after the rest of my family, who are impatiently – but graciously – waiting for me.