50 years of evolution


Well-known member

Yesterday as I was trying to get acquainted with my latest camera purchases I had a quick flashback; I stopped for a moment to reflect the evolution of photography. In front of me was the Canon 5D Mark II, probably the most advanced piece of camera technology to date. I also realized that this purchase marked the half a century anniversary since I got my very first camera, a Brownie that got everything started for me. I was in my last year of middle school; this was only 13 years after the end of WWII in Italy; food was a luxury back then never mind cameras. One of the few good things left over from the Mussolini era was that he created neighborhood recreation centers for kid to go after school instead of roaming the streets. Of course his idea was to create a paramilitary generation but once the political stuff was over the center became an important part of youth development. These centers, and many are still very active today, offered everything kids needed back then and was geared particularly toward poor kids who had very few opportunities for their future, me being one of them. Among the multitude of activities the centers offered tutoring, sports and crafts; I picked photography as I was always fascinated with art and images (and gadgets), that’s how I received that first Brownie and got my first experience in developing films and prints. Who imagined back that that it would turn into a career. Since that Brownie I owned literally hundreds of cameras and I’ve seen and made a living from the evolution of photography, film and then video as the technologies evolved right in front of my eyes. What an incredible ride it has been, and still getting better.

And now once again I’m trying to figure what’s inside another new camera, things sure got complicated since that Brownie, fortunately the spark is still there.


Well-known member

Thanks for sharing the great memories. I first got interested in photography by seeing a camera for sale in a mail order catalogue. My parents let me buy the camera with my own money, but I was 13 and had to work for every penny. It was a Hanimex-Praktica Super TL, a Pentax mount screw in SLR, and the kit came with 2 lenses. It arrived a week after placing the order, and I paid it off over the next year or so, paying $10 a month. I was fortunate to shoot and develop my very first role with the assistance of a very smart classmate, and I was forever hooked. My story isn't quite like yours and the Brownie, but the wonderment is still the same.


Well-known member


Well-known member
Where did you order your camera from? How long did it take them to get it to you? I've been looking at that for an upgrade to my 20D...Calumet/Adorama/B and H seem to be all in the same boat.

Hiding Under Here

Well-known member
I, too was fascinated by cameras as a kid. My dad had what I think was called a "Pony" camera and I always had my eye in the viewfinder looking at the world. I usd to make cameras out of wooden shoe boxes and then make little pictures that I'd put inside. If I passed something I had a drawing of I'd pull it out of the box and try and convince my parents I had taken a picture.

My senior year in high school someone handed me a still camera, probably a pretty good one, and said "here, you're the sports editor and you haven't done any work. We need pictures of Mr. X and Mr. Y go take them". So I shot the portraits and even I, insecure as I was, couldn't deny that they were good. I loved them and I couldn't stop looking at them. I think that sense of accomplishment is what funneled me into this field.

NIno, thanks for the thread. It's nice -- empowering even -- to remember how compelling the drive to take pictures can be. I just wish I had a good still camera. I have a pretty bad one right now.

Tom Fahey