When I was 15, I got my first real camera – a copy of German Leika Rangefinder named FED 5B. FED stands for Fedor Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, founder of NKVD, now known as KGB.
Yes, I was born in Ukraine and and that time is was a part of the Soviet Union. Everything was political. For example, a car company was making POBEDA cars (the word “POBEDA” means VICTORY) and it was a copy of a German car.
Anyway, back to the camera. With this camera I took photos of everything, but the most interest I had was for the portraits. I even took a photo of love of my life, my wife when she’s was a 19-year-old girl. We still have that picture and many other from that time.
I was always developing my own films and printing my own prints using enlarger. Darkroom was actually a dark bathroom with red lights, with a smell of chemicals, yellowed finger-tips… it was a long process. I even had a border-cutter – everything was manual, of course.
I still have the camera but now I shoot only DSLR.