Going Back in Time

This is my Uncle’s Olympus OM-2n film camera. For a while now, he’s known that I’ve been into photography. Over the course of the year, I’ve always asked him about his old film camera, since he used to be interested in it as well, while expressing his curiosity in my own interest in the art. I finally took the initiative to ask him if I could borrow it and experiment with it since I’ve never really used an old film camera such as this. I came over to his house to pick it up and was really excited. My first impression of the camera was that it was very heavy for its size and dirty with dust and corrosion infesting the old magnesium alloy camera body, which dated back to 1975. My Uncle handed me the bag with accessories, a flash unit, giant macro lens, some expired batteries and film, and the original manuals and warranty card. The pages of the manual were stuck together and felt crispy in my hands. At first, I thought the camera was broken since the lever to advance the film was jammed, but all it needed was a fresh set of batteries. I couldn’t help but stare at it.

It almost felt as if I was thrown back in time. Out of curiosity, I asked my Aunt if she had any pictures taken with this camera to see the kinds of images this camera could produce. She went to go find some and later came back with one photo. The photo was a close up of her wearing sun glasses behind a giant rock wall, with a wonderful youthful smile. Curiously, I turned the photo over to the back to see if it was dated. For a split second, I saw note and the word “Love” and my aunt suddenly snatched it from my hands. I smiled and looked up at her suspiciously. I wonder what was written on there. She replied to me, “This is my love note to your Uncle, you can’t read it”.

I laughed.

I took the camera home along with all the accessories and the old vintage looking bag. Sitting in my car with the bag on my lap, I opened it to take the camera out once again. As I hold the heavy, cold, dirty camera, I feel as if my Uncle and Aunt’s memories and feelings begin to flow into me. It’s strange…Their memories, their time spent together for all those years, those captures moments in time, all the abundant smiles and frowns that were captured and shared— I’m holding the tool that once was apart of their lives. I am immediately connected, attached, and what was most likely their dream or their vision is now apart of mine.

After inspecting the camera at home, I decided to give it a thorough cleaning. I also noticed the camera began to oxidize/rust.

After a few weeks, I decided to look into what kinds of lenses I could get. My first lens that I decided on was the nifty-fifty (f/1.8). However, looking them up, I found that there were many different versions and I didn’t know which one to get! So I did my research and in the end, I made my purchase.

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4 Responses to Going Back in Time

  1. tuesday2 says:

    One of the best gifts I ever received was a Polaroid camera when I was 10 yrs old…

  2. The stories that get attached to cameras are more potent than those we take photos of – my old Nikon F3 has a history behind it I can’t even fathom. Even a little Olympus digital I’ve carried all over the world with me, which has gathered enough sand and dents to kill it three times over, still lives on. Your OM2 photos will create another chapter, post-love letter. Good pictures so far. Enjoy it!

  3. i also got my first camera – an OM-2n – from my great uncle. it arrived in a package full of lots of old lenses and equipment with my name on it one day when i was 15 and changed my life. i still do most of my shooting with film and the old OM-2n is still my favorite; the zuiko lenses are really nice.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Dude, I got my OM-1 from my uncle! haha. The OM was a fantastic line, very compact. Enjoy bro

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