When I was 9, I acquired my first camera. It was a Kodak Instamatic 25, and it had a cartridge inside that was wrapped in a sealed lightproof sachet with a little indicator so that, through the small window at the back of the camera, you could tell which picture you were on. Cartridges had enough film for 12 or 24 pictures. They stopped making it in 1971/2 but it sold in its millions. All my friends had them and I still have pictures from my aunt’s wedding in 1969 which I took with it.
I have been thinking about this great bit of kit today because we have opened our first Photographic Exhibition at Christ the Sower. Some 350 pictures are on display, and the quality of printing and accuracy now is so much greater than could be achieved on the old instamatics. Printing them on glossy paper has made a big difference and is a way of honouring the effort made. Lots and lots of parents have passed through this evening and the pictures are a testimony, genuinely, to children’s artistic eye. Some children have just pointed and shot, without too much thought. However, over a range of ages, at a range of scales and covering a range of subjects, there is some genuinely wonderful photography and presentation. It is open tomorrow afternoon for an hour or so. Come before 4.30 and see what the fuss is about.
I have loved photography all my life and after the instamatic died or was lost, others took their place. One thing I value about pre-digital cameras was the care we had to take over each picture, and the annoyance if we messed up a shot, or over-exposed a photo. Also, I miss the experience of working in black and white as a constraint, not a choice. If we can help our children to see richly, in the way that pre-digital photography had to see, this is the best sort of learning to be gained from an exhibition such as this.