I received a camera for Christmas from my mom. Despite what some of my friends might think, I don't buy every gadget that is made. As a matter of fact, I buy very few things at all. And, to date, I've never owned a digital camera. When a digital photo is a must (like to post a stupid photo on Facebook), I have used the camera on my phone. They're coarse, but you get a general sense of the intended subject. So, I finally decided that it's time to start taking pictures digitally as well as with film.
I don't think I'll ever completely abandon film. There's something wonderful about the process. I've been enamored with and fascinated by film for a long time. When I was a child and visited my paternal grandfather's house, I loved to explore the drawers of the many desks, dressers, and tables around the house. That house was crammed with new discoveries yet to be made. In my father's childhood bedroom in the bottom drawer of the dresser was an old Brownie camera. I would close the door and open the drawer very carefully to pull the camera out. Then I would sit on the floor and look through the view finder pretending I was a photographer. That view finder paired with my imagination's eye saw tigers, bears, camels, great ravines, mountains, and vast landscapes. From that moment on I loved cameras. I loved going through old family photo albums and looking for physical traits passed to me by my ancestors. In the grainy black and whites of those albums, I saw my dad at 2 years old riding a white horse, his parents young and vital, his siblings in frilly white outfits.
My new camera is a first step into the world of digital photography. I look forward to the memories we capture together, to the shots of cats bathing in sunshine, of family members laughingly caught on camera while unaware, of snow on tree limbs, of Christmas trees lovingly adorned, of places only fleetingly visited.
Why am I writing about this everyday object on a blog about religion? I don't know. Perhaps as the new year opens up for me, this new camera can serve as a metaphor. It offers a new view finder through which to see my world. Life seems to be bringing some interesting adventures my way, and I'm very excited; I am also quite anxious. Maybe having a new camera to help me look at the world will help me remain a little distanced from the new vistas opening before while opening my imagination again to the exotic and as yet dreamed. Perhaps it can act as both buffer and inspiration. I hope so. I hope I have something more than "another gadget." I hope it becomes a companion that does more than record life's happenings. I hope it becomes a companion that helps me interpret the world with new insight, helping me to see things in new ways with fresh eyes. As the new year gets going, I feel like that little girl in my dad's old bedroom surreptitiously playing with something both exciting and mystifying. I'm glad I have a new camera.
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