I was cleaning out a closet when I came across a small, plastic camera with the name “Bell and Howell” on the front. I have no idea where it came from (I certainly wouldn’t have bought it), but I suspect it’s the kind of thing that is given away with a magzine subscription. I was just about to throw it out when I noticed that it must have come with a film too. It’s such a famous camera that it doesn’t even seem to have a name – at least I couldn’t find one even after searching on the internet. I just couldn’t resist trying it out. It has a fixed focus 28mm and fixed (and unknown – couldn’t find that on the internet either) aperture and shutter speed. So no need to worry about focussing and/or checking exposure. The ultimate point and shoot. I took it out and went through a 24 exposure roll faster than I ever have before…point, shoot; point, shoot etc. Twenty four shots in twenty minutes. I can’t imagine how long the camera had been lying around and the ‘no-name’ film had, when processed, some “interesting” colour shifts. I thought they’d look better converted to b&w. I think I’ll keep the camera. It should be suitable for a child. It was an interesting experience, and in some ways liberating to not have to worry about anything other than the picture. I think I’ll try mimicking it with one of my better cameras: set the camera on the hyperfocal distance; use a wide angle lets and a small aperture. Find a sunny day and shoot away.

A new gallery: Bell & Howell




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