When I was Six

21 February 2015

Coronet 3D

It must have been 1959. Vaguely I remember being in a second-hand shop, my father excitedly buying something – for me! I do remember the camera and I remember making this photograph which was, I think, coreographed by my mother. And I certainly remember being in the kitchen with my father one dark night. The little trays of liquid with an un-kitchen like smell – “don’t touch!” – and “no, you mustn’t open the door”. Dim orange light and pictures appearing, rapidly growing on small sheets of paper which have to be be washed and dried and its time for bed now.

Looking back, I can see that my father got the 3D camera as much for himself as for me. It made just four stereo pairs on a roll of 127 film and I do not remember being encouraged to use a second roll. I was fascinated, but I was only six and too young to understand how it worked. The idea stuck, though.

Time and again I would look at this photograph in my stereo viewer. I was fascinated by the way the two pictures became one in which the subjects moved towards me. And I would wonder where my favourite Uncle might be in the world. He was in the Royal Navy, a Chief Petty Officer aboard HMS Tiger. What treasures would he bring on his next visit? Jack Swift died last month, aged eighty-four, outliving Beryl by ten years.