Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Fuzzy Bucket


Yesterday, while on my continuing mission to scan my old negatives, I dug into some really old stuff. These are images from the 1970s that I took as a child with my Magimatic camera.

They're certainly not good -- partly because I was a kid, and partly because the Magimatic was incapable of taking a clear picture. I remember that the shutter button was incredibly hard to press. You basically had to stand on it to get the shutter to release, and that's bound to cause shakiness!

But when I look at a picture like this one of a bucket in my grandmother's yard, I can see what I was trying to do. It's a still life, right? I knew enough to put the bucket off-center, and make the fence board parallel to the top of the frame. Not too shabby, if I may congratulate my younger self.


This is our back yard in Florida, complete with the rusted wreck of a swingset that remained for a while after my brother and I outgrew it. I remember being stung by a wasp while playing on it -- the wasps had built a nest inside the hollow metal tube at the top. Put me off that swingset forever.

As you can see, the negatives have deteriorated with time. The colors are a bit wonky.


This stunning skyline is Jacksonville, back in the late '70s when it was still a stinky paper-mill town. I shot the photo from our moving car on I-95. Why I wanted a picture of Jacksonville I'm not sure, but at least there's sort of something to see here. I have a lot of pictures out the car window of random rivers and buildings and, well, blurs.

I shot them when we used to drive to Washington, D.C., twice a year to visit my grandparents. And to be honest, I know exactly why I shot those gray expanses of river water and guardrails. I loved the drive, and each river and town became a familiar landmark that I wanted to remember.

Ironically, we didn't usually drive through Jacksonville. This must have been one of the times Mom was experimenting with an alternate route.

I'm sure I initially got prints of these three photos when I got the film developed. But I haven't seen them in many years -- maybe I was disappointed in the quality or just thought they were too mundane to save.

8 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

Going through my mother's old pictures I was struck by the same thought- cameras have come a long, long way. On the other hand, there are portraits of my grandfather as a baby and he was born in 1888 that are still magnificent.

Wayne said...

The shaky poor focus of old pictures is what gives them their charm. They show age and have this magical capability of whisking us off into the past. I just wonder how photos will look in a further 30 years - surely we can't be far off the end point of camea evolution?

I wish there were more photos of my childhood but my family weren't too big on pictures!

Linda Sue said...

OH I love them- Old shots of cool shite in childhood, can't beat it with a stick! I had a brownie- I took some crazy photos of toys and stuff but in black and white of course so there was less to screw up- I really like these three that you have in your treasury- people are actually trying to get that effect now! Rusty swing set with wasps...ah, childhood!

Helene Titsch said...

The camera may not have been the best but you certainly did a fine job. Back in the 70s I took nothing but slides. I better look at them soom before they really deteriorate! Great post!

Angella said...

i think it's great that you're rescuing your old photos. you had the eye even then. i do love the blur and the painterly quality of old photos. we're probably all nostalgic for something evoked by them or instagram wouldn't be such a "thing."

Elizabeth said...

How wonderful to have these snapshots, these bits of oneself - or one's childhood "eye!"

Lynne said...

I've never heard of a Magimatic camera. Hmm. who made it? I think my first camera was a Kodak Instamatic. But MAGICmatic? What a cool name for a camera.

Steve Reed said...

Lynne: I'm not sure who made the Magimatic. My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was 8, so I'm sure it was an inexpensive camera suitable for a kid. I used it until I was a senior in high school! Here's what it looked like:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/john/6855841/

And here's a photo of my actual Magimatic, from back in the day:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sreed99342/3728691563/