What is the best photography gift you have received?

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Two guys on this board got Ebony cameras for Christmas. They owe their wives big time. My Dad buys all my gear for me. I am still in school and I am grateful for the "funding". Please tell me about those camera equipment gifts! Happy Boxing Day!

-- David Payumo (dpayumo@rogers.com), December 26, 2001


This year my wife found a copy of Darkroom, edited by Eleanor Lewis, an out-of-print book (published in 1977) with articles on darkroom technique written many renowned photographers, including Wynn Bullock and W. Eugene Smith. It was a most unexpected gift that I will treasure always.

A few years back my in-laws bought me a split-back printing frame from Bostick and Sullivan that remains my most utilized gift.

I'm easy to please.

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edu), December 26, 2001.

Definitely the small darkroom kit I got when I was around 11 or 12 years old. I'd actually been introduced to work in the darkroom by a teacher in my elementary school in the fourth grade, and my grandfather knew I was interested. The kit had a cheap plastic 35mm enlarger that could hold 4x5 paper in three different slots, 4x5" trays, tongs, a 25-sheet pack of Velox, a few of those Kodak starter kits with small packets of dev/stop/fix, and a small daylight film processing tank.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 26, 2001.

every christmas, santa brings me books about the history of photography, and monographs on photographers from the 19th century. when i was a young photogrpaher (many years ago), i had no persepctive on the history of photography, and no depth of knowledge on how this art/craft evolved interms of both technical issues and approach. studying the work of early topographic photographers such as edouard baldus, gustave legray, carleton watkins, bonfils, sebah, beato, and others who followed in the compositional footsteps of earlier delineators such as david roberts, and the work of early doucmentary and architectural photogrpahers like frith, bourne, atget, marville, etc., has helped my own work mature. these are the guys who invented this stuff, and they were the best. it is quite amazing what can be learned from studying the work of the real masters, and how they solved the problems they faced.

-- jnorman (jnorman34@attbi.com), December 26, 2001.

It is the gift of friendship from so many talented photographers I know. Their images are inspiration and their spirit an example. They give selflessly of time, talent & knowledge whenever we visit, talk or run into each other. It is this type of gift that keeps on giving as I and others try to pass on the positive energy these folks put out. They know who they are & know those of us who are on the receiving end are thankful for it. The best part is that their giving is a normal & natural part of themselves and is not confined to a specific season.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), December 26, 2001.

Christmas came early, in this past July. Driving down Sunset boulevard and I noticed that Freestyle Photo was having some kind of merchandise clearance extravaganza. Short story: got a all following BRAND NEW! for $415 total, including tax: Jobo CPP-2 rotary processor, Jobo Lift, 3006 expert sheet film drum, and programable process timer. It was a sure sign my lucky star was coming into alignment!!!

..and I was just grumbling that "I didn't get anything for Christmas", I had forgotten how driving to the store that day, I had actually smelled the strong scent of a fresh pine (Christmas) tree, despite one not being anywhere around!!..

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), December 26, 2001.

A love of photography from my dad. Sappy but true. An introduction to irving Penn and Diane Arbus' work from a high school buddy. Jay Maisel kicking my ass for a solid week in 1983.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), December 26, 2001.

My first real camera, in 1976, a used Nikkormat FTN, from my mom, who died this year. She knew nothing about cameras but it was the perfect choice. I could ride it around on the back of my bicycle and no parts ever shook loose. I could use shift lenses on it. It worked great for another fifteen years till the 1/125 speed slowed down to 1/60. I still use Nikons for the small stuff. Thanks Mom.

-- Sandy Sorlien (sand44@mindspring.com), December 26, 2001.

Christmas came in November for me this year ..... I bought myself an Ebony RW45 and a quartet of Fujinon Lenses: a 300mm f8.5 C, a 240mm f8 A, a 150mm f5.6 CMW, and a 90mm f8 SW.

Throw in a Polaroid 545 Pro, a dozen Fidelity film holders, a Harrison changing tent and darkcloth, assorted filters, a new Domke bag and, oh a box of Velvia, and voila'- the ultimate photographic Christmas gift ..... ever! (For me anyway ..... )

-- Robert J. Fox (aa8yo@yahoo.com), December 26, 2001.

Leica m6 and 35 mm summicron from my mom 12 years ago.

-- Emile de Leon (knightpeople@msn.com), December 27, 2001.

I agree with you Dan, friendship has been the greatest gift. Though, I just made to myself a photography related gift and got from Ebay an old but in working order Uher tape recorder. It should allow me to get back to some tapes that I recorded on the other side of the world some 25 years ago while filming birds and other scenery. The old tape recorder had died on my return, and the tapes have since kept their mystery!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), December 27, 2001.

LIGHT is the best photography gift I have received.

-- Ashraf Nassef (ashrafnas@yahoo.com), December 27, 2001.

My wife gave me a nice floor lamp from Restoration Hardware. Now, I can sit in my favorite easy chair and study my Azo contact prints and wonder: Are they flat, or are they not flat?

-- Ben Calwell (bcalwell@aol.com), December 27, 2001.

When I was 23, I asked my Mom for Edward Weston's Daybooks. Great reading!

-- Richard M. Coda (rich@rcodaphotography.com), December 30, 2001.

The old Brownie my mother gave me when I left LA for Berkeley. When my grad school girlfriend and I took a trip to Pt. Reyes Nat'l Seashore I had it with me and I got a good picture of her--the only good one I ever got because the camera had a bad light leak. I don't have the Brownie anymore, but 31 years after we were married I still have a copy of the picture on our dresser. So it's a reminder of how it was my mother who launched me on this wonderful adventure.

-- Nick Jones (nfjones@stargate.net), December 30, 2001.

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