As a young girl I was thrilled when I got my first camera. It was a Kodak Target Brownie Six-16. It took black and white photos and the subject was hard to see through the small curved window on top of the camera. It was not difficult to load, but it had to be done in the dark so as not to expose the film and ruin it. There was also a viewfinder on the side which would allow one to take a photo at a different angle. This camera allowed me to preserve the memories of my childhood which were cherished throughout my lifetime. I still have that camera, as can be seen in the photo above, and I'm sure that if I could obtain film for it, it would still work. I also have many, many clear photos that I took with it.
My next camera was a Brownie Hawkeye and was far more sophisticated with a view lens that was a little easier to see through. The camera was comfortable to hold but still had to be loaded in a dark room. Again, photos could only be taken in black and white but they were superior to those taken by my previous camera.
I had this camera for several years and I do not recall what type of camera I used next when color film came into being.
I do remember the excitement caused when the Polaroid Camera was developed. Both the camera and the film was expensive but, wow, you could see your picture in 60-seconds! My parents purchased one and we spent a lot of time snapping photos and watching them appear. Of course, the first photos were, again, in black and white and it would take several years before the color version of film was available. These pictures, for some reason, did not last as long and I don't believe I have any photos left that were taken with it.
Over the years I had many cameras which met my needs for preserving scenes in my life that were important at the time. I never took pictures for the "art" of it; it's use was strictly one of capturing moments in my history.
When we came to the island, I had a camera which, at the time, was functional and provided me with an excellent photo. The drawback: it still required film. I could take photos to share with my family back home who, at the time, were fearful and upset that I had moved to a third-world country where contact by phone was extremely difficult at the time. Since there was nowhere on the island to develop my photos, I had to either 1) send them back to the states with someone to mail to my family who would get them developed and return the photos to me. Or, 2) go to the coast and find a film store and have the film developed. This was costly as flying to and from the mainland was not something one could afford on a regular basis. Plus, the film developing was questionable and finding a store with personnel that knew what they were doing and could develop the film with accurate coloring was a challenge.
Still, I managed for several years to take photos, get them developed and share with friends and family.
Hallelujah! The onset of digital photographs! What an inventio! Now I could purchase a camera that would not require film, would have the best lens I ever experienced and I could snap photo after photo from which I could select the perfect one I wanted or - the best was yet to come - I could put them on my computer, digitally make corrections and wipe out backgrounds, make people look younger, even change the shape of something! I was now ready to take photos for "art" purposes. I did not need to incur the expense of flying to the coast, waiting for the film to be developed, checking the photos to see if I got the best shot. Best yet, I could share my photos on the Internet with friends and family.
I was in heaven. Of all the things that we have managed to acquire on the island to make our lives easier, this, along with a computer and Internet service, were the best things that ever happened to me.
My husband has a much better eye (and camera) than I and is constantly taking photos which he publishes on his own website. One can view his photos at: http://www.fotolog.com/feather61/. He prefers to take photos of sunrises/sunsets, birds, animals,flowers, inanimate objects, etc. and has captured some wonderful shots of life on the island.
I prefer to take photos of my friends and pets and, occasionally, I will branch out and try shots of still life, sunsets, flowers and food!
I continue to play with my camera and have used it and past photos to create a book of my family tree, a calendar with photos of my home which I gave to my friends and family last year, and as a tool of presenting my visual thoughts on my blog. I am planning another calendar this year and I hope to make myself and members of my family a cookbook containing my recipes accompanied by photos of some of the dishes.
So, a camera has been a fulfilling part of my life; it has recorded my memories and kept me in touch with my family and friends. People can see how I live and play and maybe enjoy, through me, the experience of living on an island.