I finished my last post starting to talk about my beloved Nikkormat and the big option to buy it.
This is the “story” and the camera still remains in my living room like a good friend.
Many photographers, when they are inquired about how they started making photos answer, that someone gave them a camera when they were kids, or they bought one themselves at that age, or something similar.
Not me. I had no camera at all, no special curiosity about, even being interested in optical devices like microscopes, that I clearly preferred. I have neither be influenced to use one, even if my father was anyway a photo addict, but only in the perspective of documenting things, work, events, family. He was an engineer, not specially concerned by arts. He regretted that my science vocation got lost.
So, as I said, my little money was directly invested in chemical products and utensils, art materials, and books about my mainly interest subjects.
With an exception.
That was when the motorbike passion, the third one, and I had to save money for a while to accomplish it. The passion still remains today as well as the feeling of freedom when riding. (Another story could start here!…)
I had discover My Way through photography but, no camera. Just magazines and books to read for hours. I needed absolutely to find one.
The very first I could have access to, was a 6×6 (120 film), a Voigtlander from my grand father that no more was using it but, as I discovered at that time, had be a passionate amateur photographer years ago even developing himself his own photos.
This grand father, my mother’s father, was a reference in the family, as a “character”, with incredible life stories, specially focused in the times he emigrated to USA, just before World War I. Adventures that we could listen for hours. We really loved him. Some of of his rules for life, always in english, still remains in my memory as “alarms”…like “try!.. if you don’t succeed, try over again!”… He succeeded
When he discovered my interest for photography we got one more topic of interest to talk, and I could inherit immediately all his photo equipment still remaining.
Well, the most was very old things no more usable, needing to be repaired, but that I kept like treasures.
The only one immediately still possible to work with was that Voigtlander Brillant from 1934 camera, very simple, just basic, no light measure, almost no aperture or speed control, the kind you choose between Sunlight, Cloudy, Portrait, Landscape.
But there it was, I had a camera and it was good. Started to feel a photographer.
Twelve photos by film, thinking money for the next roll all the time, lots of hesitation before shooting, always expecting to produce a masterpiece.:)
With that camera I even shooted my very first nude trials, a real emotion! Unfortunately no trace of those negatives.
Reading and learning with others everything I could about photography, very quickly that camera was no more at the equipment level I felt I needed. To slow for what I wanted to shoot, like street photography, people, the crazy motocross races between friends, etc.
Good to have friends. I could have my second opportunity by one of them that I must mention here for futur records. The one was José Manuel Moura Relvas, also passionate about motorcycles, that, I think, should have took the camera from his father.
It was a wonderful small Kodak Retina. A 35 mm film camera, with some more features, faster shutter speeds, f: stops control, something much more close to a pro use.
But I wanted more. Something really new, nice, modern, mine. Like shown in the publicity of the photo magazines that I was reading. Needed to find the money to reach the dream and,…well…here comes the Nikkormat real story, and the option!…
Really loving my small bike, the rides, the freedom to go everywhere, I knew that it was the way, the only one, to find the necessary money to invest in the camera dream. Photography passion become really the strongest at that moment, and…I sold it!…A long and suffered Goodbye to that “black and yellow” motorbike, all tuned like the ones from the Easy Rider movie guys.
And, next step, I prepared the trip to buy my camera.
Today it would be something easy, having the money in your pocket. But at that time it was almost an adventure. You had to go to Lisbon, where the importer was, to get the better price, and Lisbon was very faraway, we almost didn’t travel even inside the country.
I got informed about what were approximately the prices I should expect, I counted my money, costs for the trip, etc, and decided that the possible affordable target was that, now already famous to you, Nikkormat, that I wanted in Black.
On the road to Lisbon, eighteen years old, alone, head burning with dreams, second class train of course, a little bit nervous for sure, excited.
I found the shop, what was not easy knowing nothing about the big Capital, passed the shop entry trying to look very secure of myself, and asked the guy to show me the Nikkormat cameras.
In the mean time I was looking around absolutely fascinated by all those treasures inside the windows, all sort of beautiful cameras, lenses, tripods, accessories. That was my first contact with a authentic professional photo shop.
The moment arrived to start comparing the prices he was asking me with the budget inside my pocket, landing in my “poor” reality.
I needed not only a camera body, but also a lens. The product of my bike sell was really not so big as I thought.
Finally I should forget for long years my dream of a black camera body, and get satisfied with 50 mm F:2 lens, devouring with my eyes the f: 1.4, three or four times more expensive.
Everything packed in beautiful Nikon boxes in my hands, there I was, direct back to the train to Coimbra, feeling like a real photographer, happy, and still more full of dreams.
Some become true, some not!…
PS – If you could read all this post you are a hero of the Blog!…:)