Monday, April 16, 2012

My Father's Beacon Camera

My Father's Beacon Camera

Whenever I look back through old family photographs I get a little melancholy. As I go backwards in time I am also reminded how fortunate I am to still have my father's camera, a Beacon made by Whitehouse products in Brooklyn New York. The camera has a lens with metal bellows and takes 16 images on 127 film and has a leather carrying case made in the 1950's. My father encouraged my love of photography, telling the story behind the photograph.

My father, Walerian Brejwo was a man with strong convictions, opinions and strength. He lived through WW II and learned that only through hard work and commitment you can reach your goals. During WW II a bomb dropped on the DP camp we were living  in Germany and he realized we have been saved, not by mere luck, but by the hand of God. He was a man devoted to his family. My father worked for everything he had. He set his site on something and worked for it. Everything was paid by cash, he did not own any credit cards or even have a checkbook. He took pleasure from simple things in life, he loved music and I remember the first radio and record player he brought. I must have heard that 78 LP vinyl record  " Good Night Irene" and "Tennessee Waltz" played a millions times , to the point my mother wished she named me Irene.

Growing up in New York I remember my father carrying his camera everywhere we went.  It was always hanging around his neck almost like it was part of him or a tie. I often find that having a photograph reminds me of how I felt at that certain time the photo was taken. Memories can be triggered by photos of places and people; it takes us back in time. Whenever my father pressed the shutter button, he was framing and stopping that second in time for the future to look back at the past. Life is a picture, as I page through the years, sometimes I shed some tears. So many faces I have known,  some have passed away and others have grown. A photograph is a memory to hold.

My Father, photo I took with his Beacon camera.
I have a great passion for photography, did I inherit the gene from my father? My camera comes with me everywhere I go and sometimes hangs around my neck. The Beacon camera is not worth much dollar value, but to me it's priceless. It was my father's, thirty years passed on  and a memory that  keeps him alive in my heart and will always cherish it. Sometimes it's hard to realize, when the photos are spread out before my eyes, with all the pictures my father took, our whole lives are in the old photo book. A photograph is a memory to hold of happy times and pleasant things, however new or old. It is a mirror that reflects our lives in the past.

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