I have often pondered when and where my love of photography really began to take root and blossom. While I haven't been able to pinpoint it exactly, I do recall very fond memories as a young boy receiving a gift for Christmas of a brand new Kodak Instamatic X15. While I had previously used some older family hand me down Brownie cameras, the fun truly arrived with this new little package. Don't misunderstand, the X15 was no spectacular or elaborate piece of equipment, rather it was an incredibly simple little photo tool. However, it's size,simplicity and ability to easily capture what I was after made it a real treat for a young boy of probably seven years old and instilled in me great confidence that I could take pictures. Besides, who didn't love the pyrotechnics of the quirky little steel wool filled 'magicube' flash bulbs?
I recall a particular school project that allowed me to use my new friend. Somehow, I had the fortune of having an amazing teacher that took upon himself the task of setting up a dark room in an unused bathroom. All who were interested got the chance to shoot a roll of black and white film, develop it and create prints and enlargements using all of the equipment he set up. What a spectacular experience of handling the film in the dark, passing the negatives and prints through the various chemicals and seeing the images appear on paper right before my eyes that I had first seen through the tiny viewfinder of the X15. Now keep in mind this was only grade school and not some high school photography course. I think of this teacher and am truly grateful for his efforts and the significant impact this had on me. Of course since then I have passed many steps of the addictive ladder of camera gear including my first 35mm SLR and today I shoot with very highly advanced digital equipment. Rather than a blacked out restroom, I now enjoy a 'digital darkroom' that affords many incredible transformations, but I never tire of the pleasure of watching images magically appear from what I once envisioned in my head to what comes out in print or on the screen. I will always reflect back on the boxy little silver and black friend that set me on the path that would stay with me a lifetime and be grateful for having met.