I remember my first camera. It was a Cabbage Patch Film Camera with a detachable flip flash. It was a gift from my parents in 1990 (or 1991). That compact film camera taught me the basics of photography—from caring for negatives to the proper use of flash and natural lighting. It helped me produce many (and mostly overexposed) photographs of my family and friends. I remember giving it away to my younger cousin many years later (Teta, I want my Cabbage Patch camera back!).
My fascination for photography grew as I got older. I switched from one idiot camera (photographers’ nickname for auto-setting cameras) to another. As a teen, I spent hours making photo albums and scrapbooks. Relatives would give me their old cameras, such as my Lola (grandma) Cora’s Polaroid Sun 600. It’s too bad I threw out and gave away some of my retro cameras that now have a high reselling price and sentimental value.
In Ateneo de Manila University, I took my first formal film photography class under Filipino photographer Pancho Escaler. I considered doing photography fulltime, but my passion for writing and acting took over after college.
As I immersed in the magazine and newspaper industry, I met editors and famed photographers who taught me some tricks of the trade—from determining which compositions work to learning to take my own professional photos.
These days, everybody’s a photographer. From Instagram filters to iPhone camera apps, it seems like anybody can come up with a perfectly edited photo. But I’m glad I’ve had the honor of working and interacting with legendary photographers who can perfectly compose a raw and unedited photograph using only a basic film camera.
Cheers to dark rooms and rolls of unexposed negatives!
Do you have a stash of vintage cameras hiding in your attic? Share your gallery links below!