Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the simple life

A couple of weeks ago I was given a vintage Kodak Box Camera. It all began when I wrote a piece and mentioned that I had my first camera, a Kodak Brownie at age 9 after begging my father for it. I took mine on field trips to the Bronx Zoo with Miss Bopp's P.S. 97 4th grade class (circa 1950). I was the only kid in the school who toted a camera on field trips.

Miss Bopp, the girlfriends...
I mentioned that I would like to find a Brownie now. Francesca, a writing friend, said she had two, given to her when she was a kid (we're the same age...don't ask) and she'd give me one. But the one she gave me turned out to be produced way earlier than my Brownie Hawkeye (her father told her it was brand new). A little research revealed that box cameras were the very first "consumer" cameras developed by Kodak around 1900. Basically, they started the snapshot craze, making photography available to everyone. I don't know if this camera works, the lens is a bit cloudy, but it doesn't matter. I'm not about to start searching for 620 film -- or converting 620 to 120... I'll just look at it. What I find amazing is that these cameras have no value today. One would think that they'd be treasured and collected. What's also amazing is that we girls in 1950 looked more like European refugees than the New York City girls of today.

BTW: Miss Bopp didn't like me. She said I didn't live up to my potential when I handed in a book report on From Here to Eternity by James Jones (I got an A but she hated me for the rest of the term). The book was good though.

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