Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.
THE LIFE OF A CAMERA
My first recollection of life was of lying in a glass case with several of my other brothers and sisters. And I was longing to commence my career! I nearly fell down with excitement when, one day, the dealer opened the glass case and gently lifted me out.
"This is the very camera for a beginner, sir," he said. "Thoroughly reliable; yet simplicity itself." I next became conscious of a pair of brown hands that held me so safely that I felt sure I should never fall or do anything wrong. I waited scarcely daring to breathe, in anxiety to hear his answer.
"I'll take it," he said quickly, in a pleased tone.
I could not do justice to the halcyon days that followed; I was so happy, and busy too. My new master took me far away with him, and we took lots of pictures which he decided to develop at home; and then with a suddenness I could scarcely credit, all was changed. Life to me became utterly sad.
On our return home I was put to rest after my long journey in the corner f a cosy study. Two days I remained there, then - it hurts me to write it - one morning a whirlwind seemed to enter the room. I was again seized by the brown hands, alas! no longer gentle; and thrust up into ignominious obscurity on the top of the bookcase.
Then the whirlwind uttered a sharp hard word, sounded very angry, and vanished, leaving me in a state of mind indescribable. What had I done? I had worked willingly and conscientiously, but neveretheless I realized that for some unaccountable reason I had proved a failure. How the word dinned itself into my ears through all the weary months that followed! My master, no longer a whirlwind, came into the room frequently, but never so much as glanced in my direction until - but here am I running ahead of my story.
One evening he returned with a friend, and sitting down, they talked before the fire. Clouds of tobacco smoke obscured their faces, but presently I saw the newcomer produce some photographs from his pocket.
"Rather jolly, what?" he queried; "I wonder you don't take photos old chap."
My master moved in a way characteristic of him when irritated.
"I did try once." he confessed curtly. "I bought a camera when I went on that trip to Cornwall; but nearly all the photos were failures."
"Failures?" his friend seemed surprised. "If you still have the camera handy you might show it to me."
I was lifted down, and both looked at me well, their heads together.
"Jolly little camera, I can't understand it," said the friend at last, and then he put that momentous question that altered the whole tenor of my life; "What plates do you use?
Ah! little had I thought that the brains of a Soloman lay behind the smiling features of that friend.
My master mentioned some name I did not catch.
"That's it!" said his friend exultingly, "you should have used Imperials. They are the ideal plates to use at any stage of the hobby; absolutely reliable, and suitable for all climates. Don't blame your camera, old man, but just you go and invest in some Imperial plates at once, and begin again! You will then find that all will be well."
"I will," agreed my master, and he did. And that is rightly the beginning of my history. Oh! the times we have had together, and the adventures! They would fill a book. Thousands of miles we've travelled together, content in each other's company, and the jolly pictures we've brought home! Ever since that day, Brown Hands, Imperials, and I have been inseparable companions on every jaunt and journey.
Unknown, "The Life Of A Camera" The Amateur Photographer & Photography, June 5, 1916, vii.