by J. Ramón Palacios
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so it began ...
was one of those burning summers of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico;
as all of its summers, well over forty years ago.
father was returning from a short trip to Laredo Texas in his
first automobile, an elegant Chevrolet 51 color bottle green.
There he remembered me, as always, but besides bringing me comics,
shirts, pants and the regulation 'fruit of the loom' underwear,
he brought me back my first camera: a gorgeous Brownie Holiday
of brilliant chocolate bakelite.
Reflex Korelle (6X6) of surgical steel, with its hand polished Carl
Zeiss Jena, was safe now.
soon as I could I bought its accessories: a horrendous bulb flash
that I thought was beautiful. I now shared with the professionals
the pleasure of licking on the contacts to guarantee the flashing
of the bulb.
became a feverish hunter and capturer of emotions, almost full
was an enormous joy to discover the right perspective, the appropriate
foreground; the unsuspected angles and the acceptance of the challenge
to capture the exact moment of the unfeigned smile, the spontaneous
wink, the rasping breath of the dying sun behind the mountains,
under a dry sky always stingy in clouds.
bulbs, blue bulbs and extraordinary pictures. In some family album
or not, they are clear in my memory. Some I have been unable
to surpass, even with the most sophisticated equipment.
years had to pass, maybe five, to change format. My poor
Brownie had succumbed to the wrath of one of my sisters.
I believe I was taking an innocent picture of the hanging
of one of her dolls. As a consequence, my Brownie ceased
to be Holiday and ended up with a hole in a corner, impossible
were no known glues for bakelite, at least in my neighborhood
and the hunger for images was still there. Fortunately my father
had by then a Rolleiflex and allowed me to use a Rolleicord, with
a Heidosmat 75mm F3.2 view lens and a Schneider Xenar 75mm f/3.5
taking lens, which to me was identical to his.