When my grandmother gave me a quarter to buy the old Kodak Brownie Starmite II at a garage sale, I don’t think either of us could have predicted that it would spark a lifelong love of cameras, which would lead to a growing interest in photography when I reached middle age.
It was August of 1976. The nation had just turned 200, and I was about to turn nine. I saved my allowance to buy a roll of film. Money in hand, I went to Hook’s Dependable Drugs to buy some Kodacolor II. But black-and-white Verichrome Pan turned out to be far less expensive, and I stood at the photo counter for some time trying to decide. Color finally won. The instructions said to load the camera in subdued light. Taking it a little too far, I first tried to load the camera in my pitch dark closet, where I couldn’t see a thing. So I moved to the bathroom and loaded the camera by night light. And then I went out to shoot. I wrote about the experience here.
Not long ago I dug out my negatives from that first roll of film and scanned them on my new photo and film scanner. I was eager to see some of these images again for the first time in 36 years, for when I got the prints back from Hook’s later that August, I gave most of them away to the children I photographed.
As you might imagine, my photographic skills were terrible! Among my first subjects was our beagle, George. I still have this print, but poor George is just a dot on it as I stood way too far back. My scanner let me enlarge the image.
Neighborhood children were my subjects on most of the roll, however. These little girls are Muffy and Dawn, and they came to my back yard to be photographed.
I was so mad at my brother Rick for stabbing his rubber knife into the frame just as I clicked the shutter on Darin, who is Dawn’s older brother. This negative shows some signs of age and rough treatment.
This is another neighborhood Dawn, the younger sister of Mike. My brother and Mike have been friends for 40 years now. Sadly, Dawn passed away several years ago. This photo also features the side of our garage and a little bit of my finger in the bottom right corner.
One of the neighborhood girls was eager to try my camera, so I let her shoot me and another girl who I can’t identify. Perhaps if the camera had been held steadier I’d recognize her face!
Seeing these faces for the first time in 36 years was a delight. I wish I had shot more so I could have images of more of the many children in our neighborhood. Alas, we moved in October, and my next roll of film would be of children in our new neighborhood. I’ll share photos from that roll in a later post.
If you’d like to see all the images I scanned from this roll, click here to see the whole gallery.
Our neighborhood was nicknamed Rabbit Hill because there were so many children. Read about it!