In 1974, When my dad turned 21, he was given a second hand Praktica L camera. Growing up, I’ve seen so many images which this camera took that I was thrilled when it was passed on to me this Christmas. For the past 20 years or so, it’s only really been used occasionally – I received a compact camera sometime around my eighth birthday, and we used that from then on. It was easier to load, and less bulky to take out with us. I’m really looking forward to getting it out of retirement!
This model was produced in Dresden, East Germany between 1969 and 1975, although the final camera in the L series was produced in 1989. It really feels like you’re holding a piece of history in your hands when you pick this up – it’s blocky and heavy and just feels old.
The film is now loaded, I’ve worked out how to use the analogue light meter which my mum tracked down in a second hand camera shop in Brighton, and I think I’m ready to go. I’m trying really hard not to take a whole roll of my cat, so this weekend I’m going to head out into the city and see what takes my fancy. I haven’t used a non-digital camera for years, so I hope I’m not too out of practice. I’m looking forward to the challenge of just taking one shot of something and making it count.
Aside from anything else, I’m looking forward to being able to carry on this camera’s story within my family. It has really strong links in my memory with my mum, but its also great to have something which gives me a link to my dad, who I don’t see very often, a souvenir of sorts.