First Camera

The starlet that started it all

A stroke of luck, a winning ticket and my first camera was purchased with the winnings.  Nine pound to a nine year old was a substantial amount of money in 1959.  I knew exactly what I wanted to buy – a camera. 

And just like that,  I was on my way to a lifelong passion for photography. Little did I know it then, but this was the start of my journey in photography.

That little Brownie Starlet film camera was my pride and joy. My first subjects were the family pets – a black and white cat called Kiwi, and a German shepherd pup named Scamp.  

I remember taking a photo of my sister who had been tricked into standing alongside a tree where someone had draped a dead snake, and just as I pressed the shutter, I had someone say – oh no there’s a snake!  She screamed and I snapped her reaction. 
I had such fun with my camera. Everywhere I went, the camera came too. Thus started the habit of a lifetime. 

Black Beauty
My first riding lesson on Chunkette

Yes even to the riding stables where my other passion lived. A black mare, Chunkette was her name. My friend and I had our first riding lessons on a pair of racehorses. Adjutant was the big chestnut gelding, but the little black mare was my favourite. Probably she reminded me of Black Beauty. She was quite small so it was much easier to clamber on her back and learn how to walk, trot and then canter.  She had a gentle nature and I loved spending time with her.  She was very photogenic too. 

Chunkette in her stable
My first favourite racehorse

Riding racehorses
Racehorse riding lessons

I quickly expanded my subjects to include family members, school friends, horses and crocodiles. As a child I lived in Malaya for two years so I had a wide variety of new experiences and sights to record. 

I developed my love for photography as I strolled around. Once the film roll was finished, I had to endure a lengthy wait  before I could see  the developed and printed pictures . This was made even more difficult as I had to wait till my next week’s pocket money was in my pocket too. My pocket money was spent on developing and printing those first humble attempts.

Many years later, I was wandering in a camera store in Singapore, and there was the exact same camera model. Wonderful childhood memories flooded back and once again, I was that young girl with her very first camera capturing the wonders of the world around her. 
I wonder whatever did happen to that first camera. I hope that whoever used it next had as many fun-filled adventures with it as I had. 

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