I am in my fiftieth year of photographing. My Dad got me started way back when with an old 1930s Kodak Six-20 Duo medium format camera. This camera was manual everything. It had no light meter nor any way to focus. You guesstimated how far away your subject was and then set that for your focus point. Then you selected an aperture that gave you the depth of field you desired, using the handy depth of field dial on the top of the camera. I was that nerdy kid at Boy Scouts camp running around with a light meter and camera when other kids were down at the lake fishing. While it's hard to imagine going so barebones in this day and age, it sure was a great way to learn the fundamentals of photography. I still have that old Kodak camera. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line I lost all the photos I made with that camera.
The photo that accompanies this blog post was made by my Grandpa Northenscold back in 1908, over a hundred years ago. It is a selfie of my Grandpa with his younger brother Herb, made on a large format camera that used glass negatives. My Grandpa is reaching with his right arm to squeeze the air bulb that triggered the shutter on this camera. Given how little money they had on the farm in North Dakota, making this one frame was no small decision.
The amazing thing about photographs like this is how they bring you back in time, preserving a moment in time for future generations. I seriously doubt that the world at large will remember my photographs when I'm gone, but I hope my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will treasure them. Photography gives us an ability to show future generations what our world looked like through our eyes. That brings us small bit of immortality as the photographer. If I can succeed in capturing not just the look of a scene but also the feeling, then I've really got something worth preserving.