My grandfather, Bert Fisher (‘Pooch’, to me) bought me my first camera, probably when I was nine or ten. It might have been a Kodak Instamatic – I don’t remember for sure, but I do know that at various points I owned, or was put in charge of, a a little Fuji 128 cartridge camera, a much much nicer 35mm Voigtlander range-finder, a Kodak 35mm range-finder with a Schneider lens, and even a dusty old Brownie box camera, with which I don’t think I ever took a picture, but which was part of the collection. Sadly I have no idea what happened to any of them – lost, misplaced, sold or given away, long long ago. I guess the range-finder cameras might be worth something today, though I think I would rather have them on display, at home: not just museum pieces, but cameras with a story.
Pooch had started early in the film business, working for MGM in South Africa, before going on to open one of the first drive-in cinemas with his partners – who later, I gathered, had done him out of his share and pushed him out of the business. But he retained a lifelong love of film and photography, and had a great selection of old 78 rpm records of all the early Hollywood musicals.
My dad had a love of cameras and photography, too, so I guess it’s in the genes somehow.
My first ‘modern’ SLR was a Nikon FM, which I used to photograph my children as they were born and grew up, and cherished until the day it was stolen. I miss it still – its solid, simple, uncompromising construction, it’s comforting feel in the hand.
This picture, of the dunes near Sossusvlei in Namibia, was taken with its later, DSLR equivalent, a Nikon D50, which is now in the hands of my daughter, while I have moved up to the D90. I took the photo using a tripod, and took some care with the composition. I have a large, framed print of it at home.