The camera that started it all



When I was a little girl my Uncle Will gave me this camera.* It was always one of my prized possessions. I kept it in the box among my special things and I’d take out out every now and then to marvel at it. I would only look at it though because I didn’t want to break it. I would look at it and put it back in the box. In 2009 I finally ventured a bit further and pulled a lever. Out came the bellows. I then thought that, perhaps, I could actually use it to take photos. And so the seed was planted. My obsession with film photography and old cameras can begin with this moment. The moment the bellows of this camera opened.

I did a bit of research and found that I could purchase 127 film so I did. I bought a roll of color and a roll of black and white from B&H. I then researched who could develop 127 film. I found cool little lab in Portland who did business by mail order (I was living in Spokane at the time and had no clue I would move to Portland in a few months). I was all set! But then I was reluctant to use it and the film and camera sat for years, again in that place where I keep all of my special things. This time I was afraid to load the film. 127 film is roll film and I had no idea in the world what to do with it when I got it. I didn’t want to accidentally expose anything.

The film expired. Then, the only place that manufactures 127 black and white film stopped production on it. I moved to the Portland area a few months later and became a frequent customer of the cool film lab and camera shop that I found while doing research in Spokane (they sold me my Holga and even showed me how to load the film).

Still, it took me 4 years to finally use this camera. I loaded it up with the color film a few weeks ago (Portra 160) and took it out with me on a walk. It was not scary at all. It felt a lot like using the Holga except smaller and sturdier. It was a fun little camera to shoot with!

Unfortunately, the shots didn’t turn out very well. They are all mostly blurry due to camera shake. But live and learn. I have a few more rolls to play with (stocked up on that discontinued film) and I will get out there again.

Here are a couple of shots that turned out kind of ok.


* This past weekend when we were talking about it my mom said, “I always wondered why my brother gave you that camera. It seemed so random. He must’ve had a premonition that you would be interested in photography.” But I wonder if the camera is what made me interested in photography in the first place…