Ricoh 500

When I get asked the question “What would you do if you won the lottery?” I can think of a lot of things, but of the most recurring answers that pop up in my head is, I would build myself a darkroom. And before you start thinking “wow, that’s mighty hipster of you, Bere,” stop. I’ve been dreaming about having my own dark since way back in 2002 when I was the kind of nerdy student who took extracurricular classes. I took two: photography and volleyball (the nerd force was strong with young Bere).

For me, photography was love at first sight. I would spend hours in the darkroom. There was something magical about standing there by yourself under the red light, standing over the chemical trays, inhaling the toxic fumes, and watching the image gradually appear in front of my eyes. Sometimes, though rarely, it would come out just the way you wanted it; other times it wouldn’t come out at all, and sometimes it would surprise you and come out different but even better than you expected. But no matter how the image appeared, it was always magic.

I don’t remember why I gave up the darkroom dreams to choose a path so far from photography. But fortunately photography found its way back to me again when I started this blog. Let’s see if this time it’s forever. If not, we’ll always have the shoeboxes full of negatives.

This beautiful object is a Ricoh 500. Andreas found it in a Swedish thrift store about two years ago. He bought it for 20 pesos, loaded it with film, snapped a few photos, and then forgot about it. And it remained forgotten, until a couple of months ago when we discovered that it had it a roll of film in it. We were curious to see what was on it, since Andreas couldn’t remember, so we took it to the lab to have it developed. When we got it back and opened the envelope we both cried a little. Looking back at us was the face of Olle, a beautiful soul and the husband of Andreas’s mother. It was one of the last photos taken of him before he passed away.

Rest in peace, Olle.

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  1. paulina Reply

    I know what you mean about the darkroom, the smell, the magic, …
    I used to carry my pijamas to wear it while I was developing and enlarging my films… in the college…

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