I fell in love with photography and film thru my dad and my uncle Vipsy’s photographs and 8mm films. They both loved taking photographs and filming their families. And most of the evidence is from the 60s and early 70s. My Dad’s 8mm camera was stolen when I was about 5 or 6, and as the youngest, that means there aren’t very many films with me. Perhaps that is why I feel extra nostalgic toward the look of those early films and photographs. The colors, the clothes, the lifestyle photographs of our family and friends–I love it! I have a box of 8mm film reels I brought back to NY after the sale of my mom and dad’s house. We lost my dad several years ago, so these are truly special memories for us. Big reels in blue metal cylindrical containers and little yellow Kodak boxes which were short films only several minutes in length. Films of us at Christmas, of my sister coming home from the hospital as a baby, or my first time walking… We used to watch them as adults when we were home visiting. We’d put up the d-Lite Projector screen, my dad would thread the film and my mom would make tea and serve something delicious she baked. One of the reels labled “1977 Big Garden Our House”- has a shipping label addressed to my Grandmother (Oma) in Germany. That’s how my parents shared our lives with the family abroad. They would make a film and then send it overseas. I imagine it went down like this: The film reel arrives in the mail at Oma’s. Instantly, a tea kettle is on the stove and a cake that just happened to be baked already, gets sliced up and put on nice china with small silver dessert forks. Meanwhile, my uncle sets up the projector, feeds the film thru the spool, and the family is called in to gather in the living room. Oma brings in the coffee and cake and there in the living room in Planegg, Germany, they watch my mom and my sisters and me frolicking and picnicking in a huge weedy garden that was the plot of land my parents bought and where my dad would build our house (the one we just sold). My earliest memories begin around that time.
Another box I brought back, is filled with boxes of slides. One of the boxes is of my parents before me and my sisters came along. I never saw, or remember seeing any of these photos. There was one photograph of my parents on their wedding day that sat on the dresser in my parent’s bedroom, old and faded, for as long as I could remember. It was exciting to discover the other photos taken from that day plus a few others. Last night my husband and I devised our own method of projecting them onto the wall so we could photograph them to share. We now have on our wish list, a carousel projector, but we were pretty delighted with how they came out. Other than a slight adjustment to the darkness or lightness of the photograph, these were not retouched and we didn’t blur out anyone on purpose.