While in Maine this winter, I found my parents’ Minolta X-370N camera. It’s a 35mm SLR, and three detachable lenses were in the bag along with it. My mom said the body didn’t work anymore, so I took it with me with the vague idea that I’d find a shop to repair it.
The more I thought about this camera, the more my interest piqued. Who gave them this camera? Was this something they purchased together, or separately? If separately, who was the shutterbug? This wasn’t an idle hobby, I don’t think. A nice SLR with three lenses? Two fixed and one telephoto? For a working family in the 1980s, that’s a fair chunk of change to lay down for a hobby. I do know that both my parents believe in saving pennies and buying high-quality for electronics–you do it right or you don’t do it at all. (We had our old Sony TV from as far back in time as I can remember until my cousin Missy blew it up. She didn’t, really, but it’s more fun to say she did since her hand was on the button when it received its last transmission.) I guess I really want to know who loved to take photographs. Whose camera was this, and how did it come to be in the family?
Tonight I polished the dust and grime off the camera and sure enough, it doesn’t work. I’m going researching for a shop; I think that going to a film camera would be a fun challenge. I’ve used a traditional “film” camera once; my Canon point-and-shoot that I got for my 18th birthday. I brought that camera to England and loved it; I want to love the Minolta camera, too.
One of the things that I most enjoy about adulthood is finding out who my parents were before they were parents. I hope there is a story behind this camera. I hope that my love of photography is something over which we can bond.