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CAMERAS

Cindy Maddera

We are getting ready for a family vacation that will start at Alabaster Caverns in Oklahoma. Then we will make our way to Clayton, New Mexico for a couple of nights, followed up with three nights in the Gunnison area of Colorado. Then we will make our way home through Dodge City. When we first talked about this trip, I was thinking of my childhood summers in Colorado and running around campgrounds with other kids. We were a wild pack of animals, climbing up sides of mountains and throwing rocks into streams and rivers. I was always dirty and pink from too much sun. I think the Cabbage will have those experiences in Oklahoma and New Mexico. It's when we get to Colorado that I am a little worried. We will be staying in a primitive campsite without electricity. No wifi. No YouTube videos. Maybe no other kids. She's going to have to entertain herself, something she's not used to doing around us. 

I thought maybe giving the Cabbage a camera for our trip might keep her a little bit occupied. Or help. Or I have no idea. I dug up my old Sony point-n-shoot and plugged the battery into a charger. It still had an SD card in it even though it has been years and years since I've used it. I had no idea what was even on that SD card. So I popped it into my card reader and had a look. The card is full of pictures from my very first trip to New York. I have a whole series of images with Hamburger Helper hanging out in New York and they are on this SD card. I was pretty excited about this because I thought those original images were lost. I tend to upload smaller version of original data. Those smaller versions do not print well and I've always thought the Hamburger Helper series would make great art for a kitchen. The Bagel Boyfriend picture is also on this card and it dawned on me that this was the camera that started it all. 

This tiny little, weigh nothing, eight mega pixel camera was the camera that made me want to start taking better pictures. Chris bought it for me after he'd spent days and days researching cameras. He eventually bought the same camera for himself. I still have it. It is sitting on my dresser, untouched because I do not want to go through the pictures on his SD card. The first year we (Chris, Amy, Brian, a couple we don't talk to anymore because they got cut from the team) all did the 365 day photo project, this was the camera I used. I must have upgraded cameras soon after that New York trip, but I don't remember doing so. I did notice a shift in the quality of images on the SD card. You can see the point where I start paying more attention to light and how to frame things in a shot. Suddenly I started looking at things around me from different angles. I started paying attention. Looking at that camera now, I get a little nostalgic. If I were a painter, this camera would be the equivalent of the first paintbrush I used to create my first decent piece of art. I, by no means, consider myself to be a great photographer now, but I do recognize that I am a better photographer. This practice and art has become my meditation. It has made me more mindful and my camera has become as important to me as my yoga mat.

I have no idea what to expect from the Cabbage, how she'll take to being handed a camera or if she will even use it. I hope that it sparks something in her. I want to look at the pictures she takes to see what she finds interesting, to see her perspective on this world. It would be nice to believe that I am passing some kind of torch on to a new generation.