I am dedicating this post to my Father, Glynn Van-de-Velde who I lost in April this year to Covid 19. My Father in his younger years enjoyed photography and when I went to university he gave me his SLR camera the Olympus OM-2. The OM-2 was released in 1975 has 'an exposure meter of the OM-2 is able to measure the light reflected by the film (1/45th sec and longer) and compensate for any variation of light during long exposures; this is called off-the-film (OTF) metering. The exposure sensor also controls the flash exposure; this is called through-the-lens (TTL) flash automation or off flash exposure. The OM-2 was the first camera to have these features automatic function and light meter.' (Camerapedia/famdom.com: Olympus OM-1/2/3/4). It is a beautiful piece of machinery which, when I received this, I obviously did not know how to use fully. In my first few weeks at university I learnt very quickly all its functions and began to understand the magic of this great invention. Prior to university I had got through a number of point and shoot cameras and had already developed a love of the photograph.
Olympus OM-2, well loved by my Father and me...
My Father was a Chemist and worked in a lab in Libya when we were young children and I remember vividly him taking photographs of this strange place. My Mother told me when he had arrived in Libya he had bought the Olympus OM-2 for £20, really cheap in comparison to what it would have cost here. Gadaffi's image was everywhere and in 1979 there were few white people in Libya, I had very blonde hair and one of the local girls used to come and just touch my hair and give me gifts. I have very vivid memories of Libya, perhaps because it was so different to anything I had known. Although I think it was quite stressful for my Father and Mother in this place, as a child it had a wonder to it, the smells of the suk, the taste of the food, the beach, the run down flat we lived in with other foreigners. My Father I remember being happy, having a drink and a laugh always showing myself and my sister things; the strange insects and bugs, some ruins or monument and he always took pictures.
Me and My Father 1979, Libya
Throughout my childhood my Father was always there if I needed him, even after my parents were divorced and although he was never great with knowing how to talk to children as I got older my relationship with him just got stronger and he always looked out for me. He is the most decent man I have ever known but I am biased as he is my Dad.
Me and My Father circa 1982/3
I realise this posts is not entirely about photography but I needed to write it as I think without my Father I would not have fallen so hard for photography. The OM-2 was really magical to me and once I got in the darkroom and I was printing contacts and exposing the negatives, my joy at this miracle of the image has just never left me. I thank my Father for this and the bag of cameras he bought round one birthday a few years ago, I think they were from his Father's house.
I want to share one last image of My Father and me, it is one of my favourites ..
This is my Father relaxed and us just sharing a drink is something I wish so much I could do again, I miss him so much. Without him I would not be who I am. Cheers Daddy.
Camerapedia (2020) Fandom/Olympus OM-1/2/3/4/ [Online] Available from: https://camerapedia.fandom.com/wiki/Olympus_OM-1/2/3/4 (Accessed 11th September 2020)
Duncan J. (16/04/20) Lacerta Technology , Glynn Van-de-Velde: Obituary [Online] Available from: https://www.lacerta-technology.co.uk/gvdv_obituary.php (Accessed 11th September 2020)