May 20th, 2021 is the day my father passed away at 7:30 am in the morning at the hospice Lotus in Zwolle. He suffered from a very rare form of peritoneal cancer. A disease that was incurable and that started to weigh him down a year after the bad news conversation with his doctor. The people at the hospice gave him the peace of mind he had lost at his home.
After his funeral in our hometown Hasselt, we had to take care of cleaning up his house. We gave most of it to charity. Furniture, curtains, and his bed were neatly picked up or we could take them away. The rest of his smaller belongings were put through a sieve; everything of personal value was kept and brought to our home.
The most valuable to me were his photographs. Something I knew he had taken a lot of when he still was a fanatic photoGrapher, mostly in black and white. In his house, however, there was no trace of his photo books and folders. Nothing.
The day we emptied his small barn, a large plastic box appeared. It was covered up and well hidden for us in a dark corner. All of his photobooks had been in that box, in a damp shed, for years. Relief when it turned out that the images had not been affected by the weather and temperature. The metal bindings in the photo books had all rusted away, but the pages with the thin foil in between were all in good condition.
The bin got a special place in my study. Very carefully, one by one, I took all the books out of the bin for inspection. I bought a new flatbed scanner and I started scanning the first images. What I had hoped for became true: a wonderful gift and his legacy for all of us.
Memories cannot be expressed in money. They are part of all of us and, in my opinion, should be shared with everyone involved. For example, I have shared many images with my aunt, my father’s older sister. She celebrated her 96th birthday last month and loves to tell stories about memories of a time that is long ago. The time of her childhood and that of my parents. They went through everything together and she remembers everything so well.
Which camera my father used for taking photos is unknown to me. When I started it was a Canon camera with which he made the images. Before those years most of the images were black and white and very small in size. I’d like to think he ‘let go’ of his camera after I picked it up. Too busy with his work or some other reason. I have no idea. He just stopped taking photos.
In my first years of experience with photography, there were two choices: 35mm color film from Kodak or Fuji. I never learned to use my father’s old darkroom that was still in the attic at the time. The films were all taken to a photography shop: photo Becker, which could develop film and print the photos. Much easier and for me no hassle with chemicals.
Many of those images and the negatives I stored inside a dark and cool box in our attic. Around the year 2000 everything became digital. From that year, photos and videos would be stored on digital tapes, memory chips, and harddisks. For many small photo companies, it meant an end of an era and many of them closed their shops after a couple of years. They all lost their analog businesses.
I am grateful that I could pick up the camera somewhere in the 1970s. That I had the opportunity to start making my own images. Images of family, friends, and vacations. Also of my parents and from the year 2000 on pictures of our own children. All of that is stored on multiple hard drives. Thanks to a couple of my photo tools; Adobe Lightroom, Capture One, and Apple photos, I started making prints and photobooks of our own family photos and trips.
It took us weeks to clean up my father’s house but I am very happy we finally found his photos. Thanks to him I started with photography and thanks to companies like Cameratools, CameraNu, and Canon Netherlands I had the chance to work with so many different kinds of cameras. Some of those camera models I owned, and some I loaned.
For us lies the future with new photo walks, adventures, island trips, vacations, and many other opportunities to create photographic memories of places, family, and friends. So in June last year, I started to look around for a new start, a new mirrorless camera.
I had made a specifications wishlist for my new camera. Things like: resolution, speed, eye-focus, storage, GPS data, a set of great lenses, a full-frame sensor, great battery life, and the list goes on. I started my search online and went from there to a few camera stores to have a look.
I wanted to test one or two camera models, sit at a table with a cup of tea, having a decent look at the new camera. Normally I visit my one-stop camera store nearby but I did not get my chance to sit there at a table. I really needed that moment and chance to ask some questions. But I somehow did not get that chance, so I left.
Later that day I went to the camera store of Kamera Express in Zwolle. After a short wait, they gave me everything I wanted. A table with thee, a camera with lens, and a chance to answer my questions after I could spend as much time as I wanted to test the new camera. So nice they listened to all of my wishes and tried to work with me to create the perfect set together. After one night of thinking it over, I decided to go for the Sony A7RIV camera with an FE24-105 f/4 lens as my first mirrorless camera set.
This fantastic new camera, I hope, will follow me around for many years. Specifications aside one beautiful detail of the camera is the letter [G] on the side of the lenses. The first letter of my father’s name: Gerrit and later on noticed: right in the middle of photoGraphy.
G, I wonder how that happened.