My First Photograph

For as far back as I have any memory, I have been obsessed with images and image-making. Whenever there was a camera around I was always begging to have a go. To get a chance to push the shutter release, to look through the viewfinder, to hold the camera.

Growing up one of the first cameras that I got permission to use was a Kodak camera that shot 110 film. The film canisters were a bit of an oddity. The format was meant to make loading film error-free, the film was encased in canister shaped like a pair of binoculars.

110 film canister

The camera itself has been lost now for a very long time and I don’t know what model it might have been. The design had that specific retro-futuristic look born of the 70s. The camera might very likely have been a Pocket Instamatic.

Kodak Pocket Instamatic

The frame was not quite a perfect square and, in retrospect, the optics were craptastic. I remember the prints always had cute rounded corners; an affectation that I still can’t figure out, but that adds more still to the nostalgia I still feel for that camera.

My first photograph. El Cid Campeador. Avenida San Martin, Buenos Aires.

There is no hidden genius to be found in my earliest photographs. I refuse to waste the bandwidth it would take to post more than the one. What they are a reminder of one of the things that make photography so amazing. Anyone can pick up a camera and make photographs. Everyone should. Not every image will be brilliant.

What is brilliant is that everyone can have a go.


5 Responses to My First Photograph

  1. Bill Patient says:

    And you were either laying down…or very small when you took that first photo!

    • Bill, I was 4 or 5 years old when I took that photo. And I was thrilled.

      I got permission to take one photo, I didn’t even bother walking very far. I was standing on the corner outside my grandparents apartment building and I basically pointed the camera out into the intersection and pushed the button.

  2. Julio says:

    Reading your post has reminded me to expose my own children to photography from behind the lens. I forget that sometimes getting caught up in my own work. Thank You

  3. Greg Benson says:

    I remember when my kids were little–in the early 1990s, giving them disposable film cameras to shoot with. If they dropped the cheap plastic camera it wouldn’t matter since the camera got left at the photo lab. Only the prints and negatives were returned.

    My daughter and son took lots of photos from their low vantage point. I do remember lots of photos of our cat.

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