In the beginning

When I was a child black and white photos were just starting to be replaced by colour for the average family photographer.

There were typically 24 shots on a roll of film and if you stuffed some of them up that was just too bad. You usually took it to the chemist (or pharmacist depending on where you lived) to get it developed and a few days later picked up the negatives and prints. It wasn't all that cheap either.

My own journey through photography began shortly after I graduated in 1973, got a job, earned some cash and my eye alighted on adverts for the Polaroid SX-70 which looked exactly like this: (

There is a great write up on the camera at which includes many things I had forgotten.

It was very space age looking and folded down flat like a kind of sophisticated chrome and leather hip flask so it was very portable. It took a cartridge which held about 8 pictures. Once the shutter was pressed the print squeezed out through rollers at the front. This applied the developer chemicals which were held in tiny pouches at one end of the print. Unlike previous Polaroids it came out pretty dry and started to develop magically before your very eyes. In a few minutes it was as good as it was going to get. Of course it was sneered upon by anyone who knew much about photography. Since I had little clue about such matters I was very happy with the camera for a good number of years by which time it had become passe and invoked renewed sneering.

At the risk of yet more long delayed sneering here are a couple of shots from 1976 at Benidorm in Spain taken on my SX-70 and yes, that was the me of those ancient times.


©2020 by Peter Lavelle.

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