Warning: This post has to do with the Great Disaster of 2018. It may induce cardiac stress and/or depression in readers. It does in me.
The short version is that my Dad died and I had to go back there and help my sister get the house cleaned out. One of the problems being the amount of my own stuff left behind when I moved, but that was nothing compared to his hoarding which got worse upon the death of my Mother three years earlier. I had no idea I would be facing thirteen rooms of this:
(Notice the blue box with ‘OLYMPUS’ written on it?)
And trying to turn it into this:
Yes that is actually the same area of hallway. The rooms were as bad, and I could only take them to a certain amount of improvement. Here we see the ‘TV Room’, with the inaccessible ‘Living Room’ beyond:
Notice all those camera cases? All full. Mostly Nikon, Nikkormat, Canon, Olympus, and Pentax SLRs. More than 40 cameras just in that room. But that wasn’t the worst. Upstairs we have the room which contained most of my stuff, plus a good deal more than when I left:
You can see some tell-tale signs of Kodak yellow on the shelves. What you can’t see are the boxes of 450+ cameras, not including my late brother’s hoard of a dozen Miranda SLRs. Even where the cameras were stored ‘neatly’ was hardly accessible, or very neat:
As you can see, more SLRs, TLRs, stereo cameras, miniatures, and sub-miniatures (at least two Minox cameras in there somewhere). I didn’t even have time to look at them all, much less photograph them. A few presented themselves easily, like this little Yashica:
Not all the cameras (and other things) survived. There was water damage in a couple of places due to long-term roof leakage which he swore could not be fixed. As a result some things went straight to garbage, like these:
That’s not just a little mould on the outside; it’s soaked through ruination. One of the dampened cameras I did manage to salvage, but not keep, was this Zenit Olympic Edition:
Dad rather liked Russian cameras, and managed to acquire a few that survived:
Also this panoramic one, which I found later in my digging:
Of course he didn’t limit himself to just one land of communist clickers:
When it came to digital cameras he didn’t have much. Quite a few out-of-date junkers, many of which I could not get to work. One I did was the Kodak V1003 I brought back with me (easily slipped into the luggage) and have gotten quite a bit of use out of (note that statement). One that I looked at and then decided not to keep was this Nikon D80, which didn’t really match my shooting needs as well as my P610:
There’s no point in going over every single camera. There’s no point in debating which I should have kept. I’d have kept more if it were logistically possible, but it wasn’t. In the first place shipping turned out to be outrageous. I sent some to a few of my US friends and it was far less money than crossing the border cost. The second problem was time constraints; I spent 6 weeks there as it was, constantly cleaning out and cleaning up and redistributing things just so we could get at what was ‘underneath’. I literally gave away stuff every weekend for that time period, in addition to donating and, yes, throwing out. At that my sister later sent goods to auction, sold content, and filled two additional dumpsters with trash to empty the house.
When it comes down to the cameras, though, it comes back to how much use I would have gotten from any one of them. I use the V1003 quite a bit. But film is not to be had around here, much less processing, so most of the film cameras would just sit. I did bring back a few and they are still in boxes. So they wouldn’t be used by me anyway. What’s important to remember is that they once were (I shot film with almost every camera I ever acquired) and now I know from reading many photography blogs that at least some of them will find their way into hands that will load them up and use them again. Or at the very least find a place to display them.
All in all, that chapter of my life is closed and it’s time for the next one. I picked up a little hardware this morning and if the rain holds off will be making something new for my next photographic adventure.