There’s something rather wonderful about looking through the dirt-flecked viewfinder of my father’s old Fujica. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia of using a piece of equipment from an era past or perhaps it’s the sentiment of holding something in my hands that my father held in his years ago. Whatever the reason, I cannot deny the tangible excitement and comfort I feel when using it.
When I was younger, one of my favorite family events was when Dad would pull the old 35mm slide projector and screen out of the closet. We would then all sit around, looking at pictures my parents had taken of the family over the years, while listening to the faint hum of the projector and smelling the dust burning off of its bulb.
Through my younger years, all I ever wanted was to see the pictures of myself, secretly hoping Dad wouldn’t pull out a carousel with slides primarily of my older sister. But now, when I look back, really the most impacting pictures were the ones of my parents before I or either of my sisters were born. It always seemed a bit distant from my small world then but it was rather wonderfully surreal to see them looking so young and adventurous and then to watch them age slowly while their children grew.
I think what all of this built in me was a sense of legacy.
Years ago, my parents fell in love and decided to become a family. They furthered that family when they had children who grew and have now begun to start their own families. With my own wedding only weeks away, more than ever, I am mindful of this process. I have inherited my father’s camera (along with his chuckle, sense of humor and an increasing number of things) and I intend to put it to good use. Dad may not have known when he looked through the lens of that camera that his own son would someday look through it as well but there is something beautiful to me about walking in his footsteps.
The pictures my parents took documenting their life together would later tell me of their history but it would also tell me of my own. And now, when I leave for my honeymoon next month, that old Fujica will be over my shoulder, documenting what will eventually become the history of my own family.