“Teach Your Children Well”

The Author, As Captured With Impossible 600 UV+, By His Son

The Author, As Captured With Impossible 600 UV+, By His Son

My interest in Polaroid is very much driven by nostalgia. My father, a retired engineer, and now almost 80 years of age, was always obsessed by things of a technical nature, and in some ways, related more to science and technology, than he did to other people. Of course, I love him, despite his shortcomings and lack of patience as a father. I wish he had the ability to teach me things, such as how to photograph. I am pretty much completely self-taught. We always had cameras in the house, including the Polaroid Land Camera Model 230, and a gorgeous Nikon FE-2. I now have both of these, and photograph with them regularly. My father really, to this day, just did not have the time or the patience to teach me nuances, techniques, idiosyncracies, etc. of the cameras. I am thankful, however, for the memories of my childhood that he captured and preserved with these cameras. And as love of a parent should be, I love him unconditionally. Fathers in the 60’s and 70’s did what they did back then- worked hard, and were excellent providers- that is how he showed his love.

Forty years later-a different era. My son has told me he is interested in photography, as he has grown up with Daddy taking pictures of his childhood, and growing up. Not only did he receive a Canon PowerShot digital camera for his birthday, but as you can see above, he knows what Polaroid photography is, and has even taken Impossible photographs of his father. With a OneStep CloseUp. It may be a few more years before he is handling and using the 230 or 240, but he will. As I continue to wrestle with Impossible films, and their native challenges, he has taken maybe one of the nicer series of photographs with Impossible materials so far in this household, certainly much nicer than my results. The built-in close up filter of the One Step works wonderfully, and he even knew that the oval cutout is designed to help frame portraits. If a seven-year old can take great portraits with Impossible film, well, maybe he is well on the way towards becoming an accomplished photographer.

A personal note- if you have children, photograph them, but more importantly, photograph WITH them. And teach them the craft. It is truly wonderful and gratifying to see the world from the mind of a child. And, as Paul Simon once sang, in “Bookends”,

“Long ago it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.”

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5 thoughts on ““Teach Your Children Well”

  1. I photographed and did darkroom work with my father early on. I’ve always had my own style which continues today and he didn’t influence that, I’m not sure anyone could if you’ve seen my work. But he encouraged me with my photography even after I’d shoot though an entire roll of film less than an hour after it was loaded in my camera…

    When very young I broke the Polaroid packfilm camera (plastic bodied likely) when the strap was left dangling tantalizingly over the edge of the diningroom table. It didn’t survive the fall. It was later replaced.

    My son hasn’t shown much interest in photography yet but my daughter has a little P&S for now. My model 100 is too difficult to operate, heavy and the Fuji film packs are tricky to use (I must try swapping a metal Polaroid pack back or one of the other tricks to make it easier). A camera which popped out the shot would be easier for her.

    • Thanks for the insight, Harry. I am trying to also add articles far removed from gear, where people can share their stories around Polaroid, and how they got started in photography. I gave my son a Canon PowerShot SD1400IS Digital ELPH. What a beautiful little camera, and perfect for a little boy. he loves it, and has taken some great shots with it. Very gratifying to see him also develop an interest, and even more fun to coach and mentor him. I wish my father had done the same.

      -A

  2. It’s interesting. We never really went shooting film together. We went fishing together and camping and spent time in the darkroom together and on hikes I would often bring my camera but he would not. My shooting style was and still is rather quick and serendipitous while I think he wanted more time than a little boy would allow him to take good shots. I certainly know that feeling now, my kids won’t stop for a second either so I’m usually running behind them to catch up!

    My daughter has a digital camera for now too. I hope I can interest her in film at some point but for now she really likes being able to see the picture right away. Hmm, perhaps a Fuji Instax? Must think about it.

  3. Harry, I thought about getting another Polaroid 300, which as posted in an earlier article, is a rebranded Instax Mini 7. But at $1 a shot, I decided digital was a nice way to go. It is our 1st Canon, and a fantastic little camera.

    A

  4. I think nostalgia is a big part of my interest in film as well. Every family photo up until 2005(I think; I’d have to look at the albums), was taken with my mom’s Canon EO5. I remember getting all excited whenever a pack of vacation pictures came back, and how super-fancy and high-tech that camera seemed to me as a kid(mind you it’s a darn good camera even today). Mine is probably the last generation to have grown up with film as the standard, and it makes me kind of sad when I think about how future generations won’t have that experience(unless their parents are nostalgic weirdos like us).

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