Raised on the shores of Lake Erie on sixty acres of timberland in a century old house, I was surrounded by the glory of God’s nature. I spent every moment roaming the acreage comparing types of moss and trees and the occupants of the spring fed creek. My parents were amateur photographers in the ’40’s and were making a name for themselves when they moved to the acreage in the valley. All photography equipment was stored in the attic and the cameras sold.
When I was eleven, a friend of my parents brought two Kodak Brownie camera outfits to the house and gave them to me and my brother. He tossed his in the closet, but I was busy shutterbugging everything that would hold still in black and white film. A visit to Niagara Falls showed me and my dad that a rainbow over the falls could be captured even in black and white. Dad caught the bug again and all the equipment in the attic was sold for an Argus for him and a Kodak Instamatic for me and soon we were out photographing all the covered bridges that were still operational. I had found a connection with my dad.
That Instamatic went with me to Europe upon graduation from high school, and while all the German students were trying to determine the correct light meter readings, I was snapping pics of everything of interest. I documented Paris, Heidelberg, Munich, and then on to Padua, Rome, Naples and Florence, Italy. When we got to Pompeii, I was careless and dropped my camera on a rock path smashing the workings. That afternoon, we headed to Naples and a beautiful museum of sculpture where we were not allowed to take pics. All was left in the locked bus. When we returned to the bus to head back to Rome, all film and recording equipment was gone including my broken camera. The next day, we were questioned at the local police department, and I, being the only American, was questioned extensively. I told no one about the broken camera.
The following evening, most of my bus mates went to a local sidewalk cafe where the detective happened to meet them. He offered all their equipment back for $75 each and they jumped at the offer. The detective approached my German brother and stated that he assumed that the American didn’t want her camera back and to tell the American that a new camera would be waiting when I returned to Germany.
When I arrived home from Europe (dad had suffered a heart attack), my mom got all the film packs developed, and I was able to take my dad to Europe through pictures! He began to critique my work and encouraged. I have not stopped taking pictures since then and that was more than fifty years ago! What lovely memories from thirteen countries including Syria have been preserved!
I hope you enjoy seeing my work as much as I’ve enjoyed photographing it! BJT