May 15, 2013

Grandma's Last Roll of Film

Having shared a number of my Grandma's old cameras, like her AGC folding camera and GAF 880, this Pentax Espio 105G was the last (and newest) camera she had. What actually made it most interesting to me was that there was still some film left in it, and she'd taken a couple of shots. I told myself that I'd use up the film when the right opportunity came along and see what was left on the roll.

My cousin made plans to do some photo shooting with me last weekend and the urge struck me to use the camera as we explored a bit of the clay district. I shot a lot of the painted walls and various textures, as well as my cousin capturing a few shots too. After I got them developed I thought my pictures turned out alright, and what was left were three images that my Grandma had took - likely the last pictures she ever snapped.

On one hand I was thinking there might be nothing on that roll of film. But then, I also let my mind race with the promise of some great mystery, like the pictures would start me off on another journey of discovery. The reality was that at first glance these last three pictures were nothing much. I was a bit disappointed. And then I looked at them a few more times, and it struck me how fitting they actually were. In their own simple way, they were very much my Grandma's.

The glare of a setting sun on the wall, a stormy night sky, and the flowers on the table were the focus of her last shots. They were all taken from her seat at the kitchen table. As my Grandma's mobility declined, it was from this seat that she'd explore the world through magazines and newspapers, and perhaps it's what struck me as being so genuine about these images. In a very humble way, she was still fascinated by the world just outside her window. 

Looking at these shots now, all I can think is how much she always loved the beauty in nature. She was keen to share pictures, talk about a sunset she saw, or mention how strangely the light was reflecting off of something. It seemed to come out of nowhere sometimes, but it was certainly an appreciation. It's perhaps a bit poetic then that I finished off this roll of film on a warm spring afternoon, photographing exactly the kind of random details of an old Medicine Hat landmark that I know she would've loved to talk about. Sometimes pictures really are worth a thousand words.

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