Delving into images from long past to research “The Genesis Project” has been the catalyst for a wave of nostalgia for those cameras that I used during my formative years in photography.
I’ve always held a soft spot for the various pieces of camera kit that I have used over the years and have in the past mentioned my first ever rudimentary camera and the first images made therewith. Many years ago I was lucky enough to find and buy a second bakelite VP Twin to replace that long lost first camera.
Putting together “The Genesis Project” I was struck by the poignant story of colleague and fellow exhibitor John Donegan … whose entire photography career was born when he was given his brothers camera after his untimely and tragic death. That camera was a Minolta SRT101 – a classically styled SLR launched in 1966 which pioneered TTL full aperture metering.
I also used a Minolta SRT101 in my early years (mostly to shoot British football) and came across a near mint secondhand item online for a good price. On impulse I bought it to add to my collection … and also handed it to John to use at the ‘Genesis’ exhibition launch loaded with a roll of BW film.
My image selected for “The Genesis Project” dated back to my wayward teen years (you’ll have to go to the exhibition to read the whole story) and … coincidentally … I recently came across a nice example of the, now rare, camera I used to make that original pic – a Minolta Rapid 24 rangefinder. The seller (in the UK – EBay – minolta4me-kevin) has also kindly supplied a couple of the unique Agfa Rapid film cartridges that are used with self loaded 35mm film so that I can actually use the camera to take photographs again.
The memories came flooding back when I opened the Royal Mail package and picked out the little Minolta Rapid 24. It really is as charming a camera as I remember.
Not happy to stop there I’m now searching for a much rarer specimen – a Yashica Pentamatic 35mm SLR – to replace the one I used in the years between the Minolta 24 and the Minolta SRT101. Anyone know where I can get one ?
Below is a pic of my ‘new/old’ Minolta pair and also … “The Genesis Project” image which was made long long ago on a Minolta Rapid 24 in Portugal (middle) and one of my early football photos (Charlton Athletic scoring the winner against Watford at the Valley, also a scary amount of decades ago) that was made on my original Minolta SRT101. A real decisive moment – no motor wind on’s in those days … one frame was all you got! (bottom). Images © Brian Cassey