Spotlight on Group Leaders Peter Bowers
With my nose pressed to the window of the village’s Chemist Shop I eyed the very latest piece of technology sitting squarely on a blue-silk covered stand in the centre of the window display. The shiny-black bakelite body of the Kodak Brownie 127 on display became the prized object of desire of my 10 year old mind. It was eye-wateringly expensive at 25/6d but I soon devised a plan. I would cash-in my Prince Charles half-crown savings stamps and my Princess Anne 6d saving stamps carefully stuck in my Post-Office Children’s Savings Account Book; the money garnered from several birthdays for (to my mind) just such an essential financial transaction. I don’t remember my parents viewing the matter in quite the same way as me but very soon I became the proud owner of a “one click” camera. It even had a brown “plastic-leather” cover for just an extra 4 bob; my joy was boundless … almost. I had forgotten that I would need a film too and then there was the film processing cost to think of…obviously more whining and cajoling would be needed.
And so the years have passed and many more cameras, Boots, Instamatic, Pentax, Canon, Minolta, Rolleiflex, Yashica, Ricoh, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and no doubt a few more that I have now forgotten, have known the touch of my index finger on the shutter button. Over the years my enthusiasm has been undimmed. For close to sixty years I have found photography to be an engaging subject. Yet despite all that experience I still manage to take plenty of duff photographs although now and again some things turn out reasonably well too. In these latter years with the introduction of Digital Technology, photography has taken a great leap forward. A leap for the everyday photographer as great as roll-film was over a hundred years ago but with a significant difference. A digital camera allows a person to take hundreds of photographs, if they wish, on a single day-out whereas in an earlier time a limit of 36 shots used up a complete roll of film and was the more usual complement of a day’s snapping. While today the initial cost of a camera is still something to be reckoned with, once bought, there are no extra expenses incurred in purchasing films or processing costs or buying batteries providing your new camera is the sort that has a re-chargeable battery.
I enjoy sharing my hobby with other folk and I still have not lost the particular pleasure derived from capturing a scene which is a but milli-second of time in our timeless universe. While most of my other cameras have now disappeared from the attic store-room, some quite recently onto Ebay, I still treasure my little Kodak Brownie 127 even though the shutter hasn’t fired on a film for nearly 50 years.