Happy New Year 2023!
It was in the 1990s that I traded some photography to a woman whose husband designed websites for Microsoft. The offer was that he would build a website for my business and I would shoot photos of their kids. Piece of cake. Small businesses at the time didn’t often have a website. It wasn’t expected. Having a website was cool! I learned the basics of Microsoft Frontpage … slightly more than enough to fuck things up royally. About the time that I learned enough to get myself unfucked, I had an idea. Each month, during my formative years, I’d poured over the latest issue of Popular Photography Magazine. Now and then I’d pick up a Modern Photography as well. The ads in the back couldn’t be beat. Eventually the covers changed from provocative photos of women and, by the time I came of age, it was gear, gear and more gear. Lens comparisons, camera shoot-outs, reviews, film tests and more.
My tastes changed too – away from the gear hype to more alternative types of photography. After a time, Darkroom Techniques (which later became Darkroom and Creative Camera Techniques – it seems to me it had another name too, but it escapes me) became my go-to read.
Then there was that moment that I laid eyes on that tin Rocket Camera in a junk store in Spuzzum, British Columbia, my world changed. I spotted it. My fingers touched it. There was some sort of electric buzz, a sudden “ZAP!” and a scent in the air of something other-worldy.
My idea? The one I hinted at in that first paragraph up there? To put out reviews just like those gear-centric photo mags … only with a twist. I became addicted to finding discarded and defunct cameras and making them work. Cherishing them. Eventually, making fun of them. One day I would pit two of the cheapest plastic pieces of shit against each other for a shoot out. Another day I would make a story around a simple 620. I referred to them as “Junk Store Cameras” (capitalized in reverence). I started posting these “reviews” on my website. In a few years, the Junk Store Cameras area of my site really needed to move out and find its own way. I purchased the domain name (on May 19, 2000 at 4:25:12AM, to be exact – I just looked it up) but used pointers to link to that part of my biz site. [Man, this is getting boring. Thanks for hanging in there.] In 2003 I purchased a second domain and my sites no longer aped conjoined twins. In 2003, www.junkstorecameras.com came into its own. You might think that original site (whose extensions are no longer supported and it became defunct) is simply gone. But NO! That original website is quietly stored in a place on the web called The Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine is quite the undertaking. Who archives and saves the internet? I mean, who actually does that? My understanding is that it’s like a library. An internet library. There’s more than just websites there, by the way. I recently parted with some of my hard earned, government dole cash and donated to support their efforts.
Back to the old site … The fun we had! The poetry contests! Making fun of The Weekly World News! Camera music!
The other night I spent a few hours visiting myself.
Here’s a random link back to a random time:
There was the news section with headlines about photos of Satan appearing over Mexico.
All this to say, I suddenly realized 2023 marks 20 years of true www.junkstorecameras! 2023 is a year of celebration! Will there be prizes? Will the poetry contests resume? There are so many better ways you could be spending your time, yet here you are. Let’s celebrate.
Maybe I’ll get me a new gown. Better head on over to the online Goodwill store.
2023 – celebrating 20 years of Junk Store Cameras! Maybe I’ll learn something this year? Maybe that elusive world peace will actually happen? Let’s have some faith.
I just found a link to my Pintoids.com site!!