Bryan’s grandparents know he likes old camera gear, so as they’ve been cleaning out their attics and closets these past few years, they’ve passed their Brownies and other old cameras along to us. One from his Grandma Schambach came to us with a roll of film still inside; we sent it off to be processed and got these gifts from his family’s past. Is this Metairie forty years ago?

Where is this? Is this a photograph of a family member’s house? Is it the view from a great-uncle’s window, or from the top of a factory where his grandfather worked?

Sometimes we think of the past as actually existing in a sort of scratchy grey scale, and our own lives as happening in full color with clear detail. But if we use old gear and process film carefully, we can see new things through old eyes. Bryan took some old camera gear with black and white film on our recent camping trip to Lake Ouachita.

I love this photo of me, from the same camera, on the same trip. I’d wandered away from the bustle and conversation of camp to lie on the rocky beach of our island, reading and watching the sun set over the lake. It LOOKS like an old-time photograph, but my face is lit by the Kindle I’m reading.