30 washes in a dark room

unnamedI was asked last week – what do you enjoy? Stumped. I know I enjoy many things but it’s almost like a ‘favourite’ question – it’s hard to reduce it down. Lucky, just the day previous I’d had a really enjoyable time I was able to call up. And so let me do it again. Because I enjoyed it that much and typing and talking is different.

I got a text last week from an old teaching assistant from the primary school I went to. That sentence may be unusual to most. I had his number because I did go down to my old school a few years ago with a few friends. And maybe I even had the number before because Mr Scanzio is one of those people that stays in touch. I don’t know how old he is but he has an impressive Karl Marx Santa beard and he ran ‘camera club’ for 34 years.

What was ‘camera club’? The broom cupboard in the parish hall next to the school converted into a dark room and kids developed and printed photos there. Sort of. And who needs punctuation. Saturday mornings I’d spend 3 or so hours hanging there, a bit unsure about taking photos- never a clue about how to use a camera or develop the film – despite the well intentioned instructions. 10 x inversions, 30 x washes, it was a work out. I most remember the trips though. Parents leave us urban kids at the tube station in wellies and then we’d go off to get muddy in fields and take pics.

It was really free that time. I had no real idea I was learning anything creative and still can’t say I remember any of it but I do appreciate photography now. And so what was enjoyable about the other day was the remembering but it was also the beauty of all that old equipment as we moved it out of the dark room. And then all the stories that went with each item, in detail, amazing recall of a teacher. Some of it went into my boot and when will it make it’s way into the flat and to the little hands of my ones?


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