Arriving back at my UK home is always a strange sensation. Mountain life is so far removed, in so many ways, that the familiarity of my left-behind belongings feels alien at first. This time, I was only back for a quick visit. Getting to my bedroom door is still like getting home from school when I was a kid; in one fluid movement I manage to drop all my bags to the floor, take off my jacket and land on my bed. Thank god for bubble wrap though, because I landed directly on a hand addressed package.. labelled "FRAGILE".
Ripping away the packaging was exciting, once I was sure I hadn't broken it. The tiny little object which emerged seemed entirely exotic. It had been so long since I'd held a non SLR digital camera, that everything about it felt bizarre; it's weight, it's shape, the way the buttons felt to press, the design.. and I loved it.
I ran my finger across my name, emblazened stylishly across the front, with a giant smile- "Wardette"
I shuffled the small object from hand to hand as if delighted by the way it just feels in my grasp; in so many ways this fits.. it's mine.
It occured to me that the delight of an object, in and of itself, is dying.. Our phones are our handheld objects now and they are valued more for the world they inhibit in our brains and lives than for their design and feel alone. Holding this box camera takes me back to something before that.. where the functions and mechanics of it rattle when you shake it. Remember that?
As you may already know, The Wardette Studio is named after me. When I was younger, my older brother's friends, who called him 'Wardy', needed a name for his little sister and landed on 'Wardette'. It stuck. I didn't realise until years later, that it was also a beautiful little box camera, manufactured for Montgomery Ward Department Stores in the 1950s.
Considering I am a photographer with an unhealthy love for vintage, it's unsurprising that I've been trying to track one down ever since.
Recently, the searching finally paid off. Pictured here are the fruits of my obsessive labour. Better still, my own Wardette is in working order. Watch this space.. I plan to take some shots on it and share them just as soon as I get back to the UK!
"Tell me what you collect, tell me how you collect, and I will tell you who you are."
- Jean Willy Mestach