The Greatest Gift

Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor a diamond necklace by Cartier ( that summed a million carats and is worth, very literally, $1,050,000), Prometheus gave us fire, Apple gave us the iPhone and Alhazen, plus Schulze, gave us the camera. But not even this last great gift is the greatest gift in the world, for me.

The greatest gift that I have ever received is actually a request. She asked me if I could teach her how to use an analog camera.

Like any “student”, she was anxious, hurried and ambitious. But she was paying attention, she took the information I gave her and immediately found what she wanted to capture. I saw talent.

It’s really not easy to work with old analog cameras (completely manual, might I add). They are moody and sensitive. You have to put thought in every frame unless you want to waste half your film.

Nothing until now had prepared me for the joy I felt when I saw the film in all it’s splendor and color.

We were lucky to have a generous roll of film. It gave us 42 (yes, from 36) usable positions and 95% are images, Images. Not blurry, random, meaningless, “ups I pressed the button” shots.

I initially wanted to write this post on the idea that “the ones who can’t do, teach”. But I am not done, and the satisfaction of teaching someone about something that I love only brought me back to life.

Here’s to young-old souls!

copyright Mara Sarateanu

copyright Mara Sarateanu


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