This weeks fall colors are being interrupted today to present part of a project I’ve been working on.
My father died seven years ago today. I don’t mark this day by bringing flowers to the cemetery or reminiscing. Instead, I try to do things that he would approve of: changing the oil in my car, taking a long ride in the country, or sing at inappropriate times.
This year, it’s pictures.
My father bought a Polaroid Land Camera 100 in the year 1965. That camera saw a lot of use over the years. When we got a small 110 camera and one-hour photo development was more popular in the late-70s and early-80s, the Polaroid spent more and more time on the shelf. Eventually, it remained permanently on a shelf.
Earlier this year, I dusted off that Polaroid, got new batteries, bought some pack film, and started shooting. At first, I was just testing it out to see if it was anything I wanted to keep doing. It didn’t take long to know that I didn’t want to just put it back on its dusty shelf. I wanted it to be useful again.
And so I’ve been using it. Because it was my father’s camera, I started taking pictures of things that remind me of him. I like to think he’d appreciate that I’m using his camera again, but he always wanted a person to be in the picture. He said it would prove to people that we really did go to the places we said we’d gone to. I think he just liked getting goofy pictures of us.
I have been taking pictures of the same subjects with my pinhole camera as well. I think he’d get a kick out of it, even if there were no mechanical parts for him to take apart and try to put back together. I think there’s still a stand mixer somewhere in the basement that has never quite worked properly since he got his hands on it.
You can see the ongoing project on Flickr.