I think the Rolleiflex is the funnest camera I’ve ever had in my possession. The waist-level finder is so cool, and bringing it up to my eye to focus is even more visually intriguing than freelensing. The world is placed into a box, is given a vignette, is blurred around the edges.

I wasn’t taking pictures of the beach of Lake Erie. No. I was taking pictures of how the Rolleiflex was interpreting the entire evening.

And the camera has done a lot of interpreting in its life. As my great-granddad’s camera, and then my granddad’s camera, the camera is a living artifact. It’s been shown hundreds of subjects, been taken hundreds of places, has probably produced hundreds of rolls.

Imprinted with time, it may as well have its own soul.

My daughter does seem intrigued by photography, asking to see the rolls of film against the window’s light, taking her toy camera outside to get pictures of the neighbor’s flowers. I hope this tiny passion grows into something that would allow her to truly appreciate these family heirlooms and the medium that makes them so unique in today’s world.

May these cameras last another half a century.

And may this world always have access to film.

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