March 3, 2010
My father's camera (a gift)
My father gave me his Konica Autoreflex T3 SLR camera on my wedding day.
It seemed an off-hand gesture. We were estranged most of my life.
I only invited him to the ceremony on the insistence of my mother.
Once the vows and registration took place, there was a kiss as well, of course, my father simply handed me the camera.
He always enjoyed photography. I remember sneaking looks at female nudes in his photography encyclopedia. It had red-binding and gold letters and the best black and white female torso I've ever seen.
My father owned Nikon and Canon. He had in the past given my sister a Nikon. I received the Konica with some disappointment.
As far as I knew, it was a lesser camera. I'm ashamed to say I was embarrassed for him.
After my father died, my twin boys were born. I started taking pictures. I purchased an HP digital camera the night they were born.
It was some time in their third month, perhaps they had started crawling or something momentous like that, I grabbed for the HP to document the event. The camera failed. No power.
It was then, three years after his death, seven years after my wedding day, I loaded my father's Konica and began taking photographs with it.
I noticed it took images, round or dimensional, in a way I had never noticed or thought possible before. I assumed two-dimensional images were two dimensional. But there it was in my father's camera and lens. I liked how it made the background soft and out of focus while the main subject was so sharp. I didn't know anything about depth of field or bokeh either but I figured it out.
I'm not sure why my father gave me this camera. Did he forsee me using it to document his future grandchildren? Was it meant to be a bridge of connection to rebuild our relationship?
My father didn't have much money. Was it one of the few things he felt had any value? Did my last-minute wedding invitation catch him empty-handed and the camera was a convenient present?
Does it matter? Every time I use it, I think of him.