Being brought up in a household full of photographers had its own special challenges for children. If you were one of the kids lucky enough to be exposed to photography from a young age, then you will probably know a lot of these.
Leave your own experiences in the comments!
Your Family Bathroom Doubled as a Darkroom – Taping black plastic over all of the windows in the bathroom was the only way to get a room that was really dark. And it needed water, so the bathroom was it! It's how we all learnt to develop film.
You Got Screamed at a LOT for Opening the Door of that Bathroom / Darkroom – Of course, as a kid, you didn't have a huge attention n span so barging into rooms (and exposing all that film) was a fairly common occurrence.
You Shudder at the Thought of a Slide Night – Your parents probably hosted and dragged you to a few of these. Pretty damn dry for an 8 year old.
You Spent Weekends With the Camera Club – If you were lucky, the camera club your folks belonged to went to cool places. Often not though!
The Spare Room is Full of Boxes of Mounted Slides – No hard drives back then. You had to store the slide film in physical form which meant boxes!
You Know What This Is
You Owned a Canon AE-1 or Three – One of the best cameras ever made and an introduction to SLRs for many of us.
You Knew What These Were (When You Were 10)
You Spent Hours Winding Bulk Film Onto Canisters for Your Parents – Film was expensive so buying in bulk was the order of the day. Of course, that meant you had to sit there, pull apart old film canisters and wind new film into them.
You Bought 400 ISO Film in Bulk – 400 seemed to be the popular one. (Presumably for versatility, but I don't really know why! Any ideas in the comments?)
You Never Threw Out a Film Canister – Having that bulk film meant you had to have canisters to wind it onto to. You could reuse them again and again and again!
You Were Yelled at as a Child for Cleaning a Lens With Your T-Shirt – We all made this mistake. Once. When you had parents who love their (very expensive) gear you learned quickly to respect it too.
Each Day of Your Family Holidays Began at 4 AM – Getting up and prepared for the golden hour was a chore when you're so young. Though the parents seemed to like it!
Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list. It was a wonderful experience to be exposed to the wonders of photography at such a young age, so share your memories in the comments!
That bathroom was hot & airtight too in the Summer! My Dad used to drive us crazy fiddling with his 1949-vintage GE light meter which still works well & I cherish.
I stayed away from high ISO film, including 400. The fastest film I liked to use was 100 ISO.
Many fond memories from the darkroom. I recall the feel of my Dad’s hands over mine loading film into the developing tank’s spirals, all by feel. I was fortunate, we had a designated darkroom although with no running water. I later evolved into a photography store salesperson, I fondly recall “un-selling” my Dad one November on buying all the upgrade gear to do “color” cuz we didn’t have running water (my Mum had already ordered all the gear set aside in our stockroom for Christmas!). To say the very least he was pleasantly surprised Christmas morning to see his first real non-homemade enlarger and a full CibaChrome kit for printing direct from slides, he appreciated the subterfuge! This topic has flooded my mind with long term storage of the memories of these wonderous times in a much simpler time. Long before the introduction of the first digital watch or calculator.
having grown up with a photographer as a dad i can completely empathise with these points 🙂 My attic was a darkroom/photographic library and old camera junk 😉
You Bought 400 ISO Film in Bulk
The laundry room was Dad’s darkroom, and only an ADULT was allowed to open that door! =)
I remember almost all of these well, like it happened yesterday. Our basement in our house was the perfect darkroom for Dad. He taped the black plastic over the windows (I am sure some of our neighbors were wondering about what was going on in that basement!) and we had a wet/dry bar down there so water was plentiful and easy to access. Slideshows??? Oh goodness, yes, one after the other… at the time I used to not really enjoy those but now that both my parents are gone those memories are some of my best. GREAT post, a fabulous way to wander back down memory lane!!
400 is perfect for everything. Its not too grainy. Its sensitive enough for inside shooting and overcast days and its not so high that you can’t take a picture outside. I really wish I had some in my camera today when I was shooting inside and outside. 160 just doesn’t cut it even at f/2 I was at 1/8-1/15.
I used 400 film all the time and I called it ASA.
Correction: You Bought 400
ISOASA Film in Bulk.
Ahhhh…. clotheslines stretching across the room with photographs clipped to them to dry.
Me, stretched out on the floor in front of the couch for movie night & accidently upsetting the tray of chemicals my dad had temporarily slid under the couch. (Multi-purpose room! ) Yes, that garnered quite a yell from dad.
My childhood albums are a rhythm of: artistic bw photo of 4 year old me, photo of random object, (my favorite, a dinner bell) and a photo of light and shadows on the floor, made by harsh light filtered through a vintage curtain. Not your normal photo albums!! 🙂 but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
A few random photog child memories….
Thank you for this blast from childhood’s past.
Actually the darkroom was built in the basement and yes I was always opening or at least knocking on the door. Didn’t do the early mornings but each family vacation included a “scouting” side trip. Still have all of those film rolls and canisters. And cleaning a lens with your t-shirt was standard practice. There weren’t soft cloths or magic sprays in my youth!!! And lens caps…..what are those!
I was not that lucky. However I started out with a 110camera. lol Sad but true. I was the one capturing friends in HS. I have been behind the camera for years. I would have loved the experience of a darkroom. My oldest brother did have one but I was not allowed to interfere. lol