Monday, March 17, 2014

Camera collection

Recently, I decided to take a picture of a new camera in my camera collection. It got me to thinking that I should take pictures of all my camera's. It would be a good way to document my collection and a good way to practice with my newest camera.

I started collecting camera's innocently enough. I saw one at an estate sale, and then at a church garage sale, and then my dad gave me one that had been in the family for some time. I loved the thought that these old cameras had captured a moment in time for someone else. They weren't just camera's - they held some secret history that I would never know, but could only imagine. As someone who has a degree in psychology and sort of regrets not exploring anthropology more, it shouldn't be surprising that I was interested in the people behind these objects.

I've never been one to collect 'stuff' and never set out for these to be a collection, but once it started it was hard to pass up a camera when I came across one at a sale of some sort. I might have a bigger collection if I was still stopping at estate sales and the like, but life sometimes leads us in other directions.

That doesn't mean that I stopped adding camera's to my collection. You see, once people identify that you have a collection they want to add to it as well. I had a former roommate who once mentioned that he thought penguins were cute and years later he couldn't get his loved ones to stop buying him penguins. Penguins were everywhere in my basement. Sort of related... he now owns this super cool company that sells must have items for your pet and was just featured on the Today show. I digress, but I feel like I can say 'I knew him when...".

When I graduated from grad school a friend gave me a few cameras. It was really touching since it wasn't well known that I had a camera collection, but he knew me well. That's what friends do.

Years later a coworker gave me a camera of her father's. He had just passed away so I was hesitant to take it, but she said she wanted it with someone who would appreciate it. I was so humbled by this - I don't think she really knows how much that meant to me. (It's currently in that brown leather case in the first picture above. I recently took it out and I think it might actually have film in it. I must look into this! How cool would it be to find old pictures and be able to give them to my coworker who happens to never stop genuinely smiling. She's the best.)

Recently, my birth sister mentioned that she had been collecting camera's and asked if I wanted them. Of course! I mean, my camera collection was still within reason. I could still fit them all into one cabinet which made my minimalist husband tolerate a 'collection'. They weren't taking over the house yet so when my birth mom gave me the camera's a few weekends ago I was happy to bring them home, clean them up, and add them to the shelves.

And now the cabinet is full. Very full. Except I was also offered some camera's from a friend I haven't seen in awhile. Seems like a good excuse to get together. I mean, we haven't seen each other in years.... and connecting on Facebook doesn't really count.

I may have to get another cabinet.

There's a bed and breakfast in Stillwater, MN - The Elephant Walk. The owner is a collector of old camera's and I was able to see her private quarters and how she had them displayed on a shelf about a foot down from the ceiling that ran the perimeter of the room. I don't have the house for that, but I loved it and it's always stayed with me as a 'maybe one day...'. On a side note, totally go to this bed and breakfast. Rita and Mike run this charming place and are fantastic. Rita's deceased husband was an ambassador so much of the decor comes from around the world. This isn't a little Victorian B and B (not that there is anything wrong with those places, they're just not for me). I'd love to go back and show my husband because I think he'd really like it, but since I went there twice with an ex it would be a little odd. Wouldn't it? Since I might never get the chance to go back you should. Breakfast alone is worth it.

And I digress again...

I know people have differing opinions on cameras and the role they play in our lives. Years ago when I was traveling around Europe I met a guy traveling on his own that didn't believe in camera's. "I keep all the memories in my head", he said. Perhaps my excuse is having a terrible memory, but I couldn't imagine life without the ability to freeze a moment or two in time.

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