I was 27 when I bought my first digital “camera”. Until then, I only took pictures on special events such as birthdays and while travelling. I used whatever camera my parents had at the time. Those soap-box things so abundant in the 90s, mostly.
It happened a few days after a routine eye exam. The doctor said that my eye pressure was quite high and that I should start using eye drops to lower it immediately. I was there to see if I had to change my glasses prescription and was diagnosed with glaucoma. She gave me the news just like Sybill Trelawney would tell Harry Potter that he would die a horrible and terrible death while comparing me with a younger eye cancer patient of hers who lost both eyes. I had to do a battery of exams in the following weeks to see if my eye nerves were healthy.
Needless to say that I left the clinic extremely scared and begun to think of all the things we take for granted when we are 27. Vision, for example. Glaucoma can make you go blind if not properly cared. It was then that I decided to pick up something that could take pictures. It was the dawn of the camera phone, so I chose the best I could afford, a Sony Ericsson k790i.
As far as the technology was in 2007, it had quite a good camera. 3 MP resolution, Xenon flash. Focal lenght around 35mm, I’d say. I used it a lot to register everything that I could. Being with friends, familiar places I didn’t go that often, family. After all, if I could go blind, I would like to keep everything and everyone where I could see them whenever I wanted. I printed a lot of those pictures and kept most of them in the phone memory. They were of questionable technical quality, of course, but they say your worst photos are your first 10.000, after all.
Things escalated from there. A couple more camera phones, then a compact camera. Then a superzoom. Then another. An APS-C DSLR. A better APS-C DSLR. A full frame DSLR. Film cameras. A Leica M3.
As for my eyes? Ten years have passed since that diagnostic. My eye pressure is good nowadays. This year, my new doctor said that I could drop the eye drop treatment if I kept measuring the pressure a few times a year. So far so good. I still like to register the cotidian, though.