4.16.2013

Slide shows

Yesterday an old friend posted a story on her blog, about going through her family's slides with her dad before he passed away. And it made me think about growing up with a father who also loved to record the life of his family in photographs.

He had a box of old cameras tucked away in a closet, but the one he always used was a 35mm Argus rangefinder camera, with its beautiful leather case. It's the camera he taught me to use, before I bought my first SLR in 1974, a Pentax Spotmatic F. I remembered how the Argus went everywhere with us, just as my own camera is never far from my hand. And the hundreds of family gatherings, Easter Sundays and Chrismas mornings, vacations on the Oregon Coast, Girl Scout events and our high school concerts... all carefully documented in film.

The day my dad came home with boxes of slides was always special, whether the pictures were from our most recent vacation, or an art show he attended, or his latest project as an architect. We always sat down as a family to watch them. My sisters and I would set up the screen, my dad would carefully put each slide into a new slide box, and Mom would make treats. We'd pick our favorite spot, get comfortable, and Dad would cycle the first slide into the projector. We'd talk and laugh and say "Remember..." or "Isn't that where you found..."  Having slides made each event something to be enjoyed over and over, year after year. 

When Dave and I got married, we were already avid photographers. We started out taking slides, and loved to sit down and relive our adventures. Just set up the projector and we were there. But gradually we changed to print film, and those packets of photos that were easier to share with friends and family. Today we've come full circle, thanks to digital cameras. Absolutely the best... "slide" shows anytime and pretty much anywhere, but we can print anything we want, too.

When my parents passed away, I became custodian of the family projector and library of slides. So many memories, locked in my attic. Every so often, I've gone upstairs to the attic playroom and pulled out a box, and looked at the slides through a small slide viewer (also my Dad's).

Now I think I may just go in search of that projector, and next time my sisters and I are together, we'll settle down in the living room, and go through our family history, one slide at a time.


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