I don’t remember how old I was when I first took an interest in photography. I might have been about ten years old. Perhaps a little older? I really don’t know. What I do know is that Dad let me use his old camera, showed me how to put film in it, how to operate it, and had those early snapshots developed for me. I was hooked. My first camera was a Kodak Pocket Instamatic. It looked a lot like the one in this photo labeled 1972. Mine was a dark brown, though. The camera took square flash cubes that turned with each use, and were good for four photographs. A flashcube extender was required unless you wanted everyone to have red eyes. The 110 film came in a cartridge that dropped into the back of the camera. Easy!
I used this camera a lot through my early teens. I used it, in fact, until my senior year in high school when I took my first photography class. A camera that took 35mm film was required, so again Dad came to the rescue, and let me use his camera. The class was for black and white photography, during which we learned about f-stops, shutter speed, how to develop our own film, and make enlargements in the darkroom. Oh man. That was so much fun. I was hooked. Somewhere in this time my folks got me a new camera (Dad picked it out), a Minolta SR-T201, a 35mm camera, as well as a couple lenses to use. The camera has a battery, but the only thing it was ran was the built-in light meter. The camera is actually fully manual. I used this camera for a lot of years, and went through many rolls of Kodachrome and Fuji film. Many rolls.
Years later, Dad realized that I wasn’t taking as many pictures as I used to, and part of the reason was the camera itself. Though it continued to take wonderful pictures, it was a bit cumbersome to lug around. He got me another Minolta, this one small enough to drop into a pocket, though it too was a 35mm camera. Same film, both cameras. Hooray! The new Minolta was also fully automatic. No extra lenses, no accessories, built-in flash unit (no red eyes). It worked beautifully for the point-and-click photography that’s so much fun with friends, and since it fit in my pocket I could easily take it anywhere.
A few more years (cough, cough) go by, and we’re in the digital age. Kodachrome isn’t made any more, and even if you have some, you can no longer get it processed. I got a digital camera. Well, Dad got it for me—are you seeing a pattern here? It did well for me until I started taking pictures of my knit designs, and needed to get better closeups. This time it was Mom who came to the rescue, and got my current camera for me. Since no film is required, it’s smaller than ever, and has a macro mode that takes fabulous close shots of my creations. It’s not a fancy camera. It has a few more options that merely pointing and clicking, but this little Nikon Coolpix S600, does a fabulous job. Except the new battery. It’s a tiny bit too long, and so it’s hard to get the camera to close properly. But I digress.
Though all these years my love of taking pictures has never diminished, but my needs, free time, and technology have changed things a lot.
One thing that I have noticed is that, generally speaking, sweater designs look better on real people than on one of my dress forms. We’re still relatively new to this area, and I don’t have easy access to the large circle of friends that I did when we lived in southern California where friends Rachel and Beth would sometimes pose for me. That’s not a bad thing, really, we’re making new friends, but it’s more challenging when I want to release a new sweater design with a model other than Nicole or Rose (yes, the dress forms have names). So this time I experimented, and hired it done. I found Anne Podlesak and Stitch Definition, we came to an agreement, and I sent her a couple of sweaters to photograph for me. She did a fabulous job. I love all the photos she sent back. Some of the photos for the first design, Mountain Laurel, are shown below. Aren’t they lovely? And the sweater looks so much better on Emma (lovely red-haired Emma!) than on headless Nicole, the dress form.