For his eighth birthday, I gifted Oak a small yellow, point and shoot Kodak film camera. For years, he grabbed my Fuji off of our green television stand and snapped photographs of pretty much everything he saw. He’d snap, take a few moments to review, and continue to snap through the minutes and hours. Over time, I purchased disposable cameras, which delivered a temporary joy.
This dance lasted for a few years, until he asked for a “real” camera for his birthday. With a month-long stay in Europe on the horizon, the film camera he received provided an ongoing activity through travel and new spaces. But more than that, it provided an opportunity for the joy to continue in Berlin and again, once back in New York City.
In my case, the photographs (albeit, grainy and not that great, because they were exposed) allow me a moment of pause to reflect with care and pride, for what we experienced together on my 33rd birthday in that magical city.