Thursday, October 05, 2023

Hobby, Meet Children, Children, Hobby

Remember hobbies? We used to have hobbies, and we liked them so much. Photography, knitting, painting, writing. Then the internet showed us how to monetize hobbies and a side effect of that was that if you were not good enough at something to monetize it, you stopped doing it. 

I mean, a lot of us also had babies and/or careers and now spend most of our time focusing on things that will suffer if we're not giving them a lot of attention, and that's not really conducive to hobbying either. And then there's the fact that everything is getting so expensive. My kingdom for yogurt! Who has time to sit and paint a picture when a carton of eggs costs five million dollars?

I talk about this with my friends sometimes; we speak about hobbies like they're actual people we knew a long time ago. People who have ghosted us with no explanation. We fondly remember them, bitterly recall their sudden disappearance, long for their return, but also acknowledge that if they did show up again, we don't know quite where they'd fit in our lives anymore. 

The other day though, one of my favorite old hobbies called me up and wanted to reconnect. 

Before I got pregnant with Sully, I collected Lomography cameras. They were these cheap plastic film cameras that had neat little features—there was a fisheye one, the La Sardina that allowed for easy multiple exposure shooting and had colored filters for the flash, and the Dianas that shot nice big square film. I used to carry them in my purse, downtown, out with friends, on vacation. I'd make a roll of film last for a year or so, long enough to forget what all was on it so I could have a surprise when I got it developed. It was a hobby that required a lot of patience, a lot of waiting. I would shoot things on my digital alongside the Lomo cameras so I could contrast and compare. It was fun. Here, a random sampling of those pictures:

I took a picture or two after Sully was born, then abandoned the plastic cameras completely after Scarlett came to live with us (we were not sleeping, I was working on my first book...maybe, in retrospect, I was the ghoster, not the ghostee). But the other day, the kids and I were heading out for a walk and the old Diana, hanging from a hook on my living room wall, caught my eye. 

It said, Hey, you. I think Scarlett would get a kick of out of me.

I didn't answer, because it's weird to talk to cameras, but I silently acknowledged that Diana was correct. So I went around the house and gathered up all of my old Lomo cameras, the Dianas, the fish eye, the La Sardina, and I put film in the ones that didn't have film (yes, I still have random canisters of unused film in almost every room in my house), and I gave them to the children and I told them how film works, how they had to be judicious (and then I had to explain what judicious meant) and patient and thoughtful and creative and they got very excited because kids are fun and get excited easily, which is something I really like about them. 

And then we went on a walk, with our cameras around our necks, and with our years-old film, and I showed them how to do multiple exposures and how to decide whether something was really worth taking a picture of and we had a great old time. 

So anyway. All of that to say: if there's an old hobby you've been missing and would like to reconnect with, maybe try introducing it to your children. If they get along with each other, it might just stick around for a while.

1 comment:

Rachel Del Grosso said...

Ok, I kind of love this.