Tuesday, August 3, 2010
It was in Junior High School that I started my interest in photography. First I found a used 35mm camera which someone had left in our home. Since nobody at home knew how to operate it, I did a test and trial method in order to learn how to use the camera. The film was too expensive for me to really try it out and see if it truly could take a picture. Finally I took one roll, and it worked fairly well. Then I decided to change the camera in order to double the number of pictures per roll of negatives. I inserted a blocker, made of card board, inside the back of the box so that only half of the film was exposed at each push of the shuttle. Then I would wind forward only half the film each time. Believe it or not, it worked! So I had a camera that could take up to 72 pictures for each roll of film. But developing the negatives was still out of my financial limit, so I did not take many pictures.
Then accidently one of my classmates, Wang Zi-Tao (王之道, see below, this picture was taken on campus) mentioned to me that he usually developed his film and his pictures in school. I begged him to show me how.
It turned out that our Fine Arts teacher was in charge of a darkroom belonging to the school. He had allowed Wang to do all his work in the darkroom. Wang had a key to the small room next to the teacher's office, right across from the front of our classroom. During after school hours, I learned from Wang how to develop negatives, to print pictures, and to enlarge pictures. Clearly, he was way ahead of everyone in this aspect.
Later on, I changed a very small room beside a toilet room at home, right across from my bedroom, into a darkroom. The only problem was that the room had a window, therefore I had to wait until it was very dark outside before I could develop my negatives. I took the picture of Taotze and me which was in my last post and developed it in my home darkroom.
Photography became my lifelong hobby. It started with a used camera while I was in Junior High. Now, I am using four active cameras and I have lost count of how many cameras I have had so far in my life-time!