I have an exciting announcement. Well, it’s exciting for me, we’ll see what you think. I am taking my very first photography class! The class is Basic Black and White Photography and I will be using my mom’s Canon AE-1 Program.
The last time I used this camera, I was in elementary school taking photos for 4-H. I guess the 4-H thing could be considered my first photography class but we didn’t learn much about camera operation other than point and shoot. And I was the only kid without a fully automatic camera, which of course I thought was terrible!
But I entered those 4-H photos in the fair and I won second or third place for a photo of the front end of my parents’ 1950 Studebaker Commander. The title of the photo was ‘1950 Stude’ and it was framed in a yellow mat. I don’t know what happened to it but I remember exactly what it looked like. If you looked closely at the photo, you could see my reflection in the chrome. I was kneeling down with the camera and was wearing a green Howard Bulldogs t-shirt (my elementary school). Strange the things we remember.
That was the end of my brief adolescent stint with photography. It took 20 years for me to pick it up again, but this time I think it’s gonna stick.
When I arrived at my sister’s house in November, she brought a box into the room and said, “do you want this?” It was my mom’s camera, complete with flash, three lenses, and all of the original boxes, paperwork, and instruction manuals. In the 9 years since my mom died, I had completely forgotten about the camera. My sister had taken it because at that time, she was more interested in photography than I was. But it has been sitting in storage and neither one of us has used it for years.
I had already been thinking about taking photography classes when I got back to the states but when my sister walked into the room with my mom’s camera, it was like everything had fallen into place. I got online and found out about the photography program at City College. I managed to enroll at the last minute and even got the out-of-state tuition fees waived. I had been waitlisted for the class because they were all full by the time I got registered. But as of yesterday, I am officially enrolled in the class. So here I am, 20 years later, taking my first photography class with the first camera I ever used.
Going back to film is a little daunting now that I’ve become so reliant on the instant gratification of digital cameras. But it’s also exciting because I know that learning the basics will make me a better digital photographer. And I can’t wait for our first day in the darkroom tomorrow!