instamatic 133X


I scored this lovely little thing at a garage sale yesterday for all of a dollar. I go to garage sales almost every Saturday morning in the spring and summer partly because I’m interested in seeing what people toss out, partly to score some toys for Raspberry, and partly to try to seek out vintage gems like cameras. Last summer, I think I found three or four cameras at garage sales, but got none of them because the asking price was too high, the camera wasn’t functioning (part of it actually came off in my hand) or because I didn’t see the need for such a camera.

I adore vintage cameras and I got lucky with this Instamatic as I was leaving this garage sale chock full of retro stuff. It was just sitting on a table that I assume held a bunch of miscellaneous items like the box of change and a notepad with a name and number scrawled on the front. One dollar, you say? Of course I’ll take it! As I was digging through my wallet for my change, the lady in charge of the sale asked what kind of film it took, perhaps 35mm? Having already examined the camera and seen the words “uses Kodak 126 film” printed on the inside, I corrected her. She wondered out loud if maybe they had any film lying around. I was generally planning on having the camera more as a decorative than functional item, so it didn’t really matter to me if they had the film (although, it would be pretty cool). “Oh, I’m sure I can find some on eBay,” I shrugged politely. I left her my name, number and email, in case they do find some film.

A younger lady sitting beside the person in charge happened to be watching the transaction and she said something I couldn’t quite hear. But I did hear the word “Hasselblad,” at which point, I’m sure my eyes just widened, because oh hey, here’s someone who I’m pretty sure knows what she’s talking about. We engaged in conversation about cameras and how film is still so much nicer, despite everyone moving to digital. I learnt she’s a graphic designer who has film and cameras she doesn’t use any longer that she’d be willing to part with. She was an anthropology major at Mac (that’s what my second degree was in, although I’m pretty sure she was in cultural anthropology, while I primarily did biological), who began working as a receptionist at a photo studio and caught a lucky break when she was asked to stay on. That somehow progressed to doing a bit of photography and then into being a self-taught graphic designer with her own business. Pretty cool. It’s always inspiring to meet people who are self-taught artists. Of course, I say this as someone who has never taken an actual photography class. Ha. She gave me a business card, so I can get in touch with her about her film and cameras. I haven’t yet, because I’m not in dire need (or want) of more SLRs (which is what it sounded like she had), nor film (as of spring this year, I had 3300 exposures across 121 rolls of film). I probably will in a few days, just to see what she has. I recall her saying she had some 1600 ISO black-and-white film…. mmmmm.

It was nice being able to talk with someone in person about something that doesn’t involve kids. It’s nice to talking to people other than Lucas and Raspberry, period. That, and finding the camera made my day.

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