Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021
1975: My First Camera
My dad was an amateur photographer who learned in the 1940’s how to process his own film in his bathroom at the apartment he and my mom had at 39th and Baring street in West Philadelphia. Dad was eager to see me succeed in the fine arts. He encouraged me to enroll in photography classes when I was an undergraduate student in college and was eager to loan me his cameras so that I could fulfill the assignments issued by my photography instructor. Dad was a real camera buff shooting with a Rolleicord 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 format and a Praktica 35 mm camera with a variety of screw mount lenses.
From my studies in school I became mainly interested in Nikon cameras so I purchased a Nikon F2 on a trip to Olden Camera in New York city in 1975. In this photo, my roommate from college is holding a hand held Weston Master Meter Two and dads Praktica with leather carrying case. You can see by the shape that I am holding his Rolleicord camera in my right hand. Also take notice of the extra wide camera strap that I purchased for the new F2. This style of strap was very popular during the 1970’s. It reminded me of the guitar strap that Jimi Hendrix used at Woodstock just a couple of years earlier. I think camera manufacturers at the time seized on the popularity of Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock and marketed their own version of the iconic strap for cameras instead of guitars. Amazingly, 45 years later, I still have the Nikon F2. It is not in the condition that it once was, but it still works to this day.