Camera Story


         I was fascinated by cameras from quite a young age. Back then, when I was still in China, owning a camera was very special. You had to be the trend setter and had a bit of money to have a camera. I always remembered my dad had an Olympus camera, which he bought from Japan. It was a point-and-shoot film camera, but it was already quite advanced at the time, that we could adjust the time and date, and the films could be rolled up automatically once finished. We called the camera ‘傻瓜相机’, which has the literal translation ‘fool’s camera’. Well, it was supposed to mean the camera was so high tech, it was fool-proof.

          Those film cameras provided such memories. As children, we were not allowed to touch them, as they were probably the most precious things in the household, well, maybe ranking just after the television in the house. So, whenever, I got to hold the camera, there was a sense of privilege and mission. As films were costly, and could not be deleted like the digital cameras nowadays, we had so much care in making sure the photos were as perfect as possible. We would never waste a shot. Then, we would carefully send the films to be developed. Photos back then were always so beautiful and mesmorising, even with those slightly out of focus. Because the resolution was not that high, the photos would always have the grainy quality, which I loved. I always wonder why nowadays, people constantly wish their photos to be pin sharp, where is the romance in that? For me, those old film cameras always captured the true moments. They have stories in themselves.


          As the time passes, the technology has picked up, thus the rise of the compact digital camera trend. It was around the time when I was 14, the popularity of the digital compact camera started. During that period, I used to visit my aunt who lived by the seaside and I was introduced to one of her friends Emy. Emy was very interested in photography, and had taken many photos around the seaside. My fascination with photos was rekindled and I was desperate to get my hands on one of those cameras. At the time, the compact digital cameras were still quite expensive, around £150. I was too shy to ask my parents for money. Luckily, I had a part-time job then, so I saved every penny I could and got myself a Sony digital compact camera. When I went to the shop, I took out £200 in cash in an envelope and nervously handed the money over to the shop assistant. Now, thinking about it, it must have been very strange for the shop assistants to see a young girl with so much cash. I was the first in my high school to own a digital camera, and I can still recall the sense of joy and pride.

          The Sony camera went with me everywhere, right through my university degree. It travelled almost as much as I did: France, Philippines, Croatia, Nepal, Japan… There was almost an unspoken virtual friendship between the camera and me. I was head over heels in love with photography, that I had a specific section in my art portfolio dedicated to photography. Yet, all good things must come to an end somewhere. It finally packed up. Well, it still works, but the focusing power was very poor, and the resolutions and sensor power are way behind even the cheapest smart phone nowadays. Afterwards, I tried several cameras to replace the little Sony. I had another compact camera, a bridge camera and now a basic DSLR. Yet, none of them evoked the same emotions as my first camera. That little Sony camera always has a special place in my heart. I suppose, it was because I earned it, I wholly owned it, and I went through a lot of hard work get that cameras. Whereas my current cameras, they came too easily. When things come too easily, we don’t appreciate them as much.

          So photography has not taken a centre stage in my heart for a long time. I still snapped, but never with as much enthusiasm as I used to. Somehow, cameras became faded memories. Yet, life comes in a full circle, here I am again, taking an interest in photography once again. Better still, I now have a more refreshed outlook towards photography. I see myself with zero experience on this subject area, learning everything from the very basics…

          Here is the end of the post, got to go watch my photography courses on…