by Peter Stone
|I had been using a camera
since a very young age, initially a 'traditional' Kodak box brownie, and
then a 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 inch reflex with a top screen viewer, probably a Kodak
again; this I used on my trip to Europe in 1954 when eleven years old.
At Christmas 1955, I visited the family in Singapore. Dad's good friend
T.Y.Cheong was head of Voiglander's in Singapore, and T.Y. gave me a 35mm
single-lens reflex Voiglander VitoB to use. Dad was quite surprised when
T.Y. said I could keep it, but he wasn't impressed when I opened the back
of the camera at the end of the roll. With typical attitude of not teaching
me how to use the camera, I did not know that with a 35mm camera, you wind
the film back into the casette at the end of the roll - unlike roll
cameras which simply required the winding forward of the film at
the end of the last shot, and removing it. I therefore ruined the film.
Well, not quite. I recognised what I had done as soon as the back was opened,
and quickly closed it again. I knew this would have ruined the last few
shots I had taken, but those further back on the roll, covered tightly
by the end of the roll, would have been protected. No, my father said,
I had ruined the lot. So I pulled it out. I was right. I could have wound
it back and saved at least eighty percent of the film; my advice from Dad
I took my photography seriously
and read up what I could. The first thing to do was to master exposure.
There was no exposure meter on the Vito B. Kodak film, Pan X or somthing
like it, was black and white film, rated at around 100ASA. I had to find
out what that meant first, and then used the 'instruction' that came with
the film to set the exposure - ie, to set the speed and the aperature.
It was something like 1/100 sec at f16 on a sunny day. I kept a notebook
and recorded all my exposures, then consulted this when examining my prints
- contact prints, the same size as the 35mm film. I still have the original
album with the contact prints fixed. I soon became a good judge of exposure
which set m up well even when my next camera, my father's Vitessa, (jnhrited
when he died), had an exposure meter built in - and one that was not accurately
calibrated I might add. During the practice in setting exposure, I learnt
the maning of the relationship between shutter speed and aperatur, and
the concept of depth of field. And from then on, there was no holding me
back. Composition was next. I understood the rudiments and took some well
composed shot, but of the early photographs were straightforward scenic
or people shot. At least they provided a record for these wonderful years.
What follows is a small photographic essay over a very brief time in Singapore and Malaya. My father's photographs add to the record. I shoulkd mention that although Dad was using the very early Kodachrome film, of 25 ASA, I did not use colour until I went to Syndey with the scouts at the end of 1959. By then my father had died, and I ended up with his Vitessa which I used for many years. The Vitessa had a unique featur - the film winder was activated by a plunger at the opposite end to th shutter. It was possible to take 36 shots in thirty seconds by a quick click and plunge, click and plunge etc. Quite snazzy for its day.
Most of the small-image photos
shown may be linked to get a bigger image. (This may not be applicable
if the website has been accessed from the internet. The website was established
for in-computer use on a CD-ROM. In time, internet speed will be such tht
the larger images can also be loaded without compromise on download speed.)
|Old priest under a trance. Thaipusam, Singapore 1959.|
|Fullerton Building, (the General Post Office), from Queen Elizabeth Walk. The Department of Inland Revenue was located at the Fullerton Building, Dad's office is on the top floor||on the side shown. That is where he died on 16 February 1959. The Queen Elizabeth Walk was a fine esplanade next to the sea but with land reclamation, it is well inland now.||The bridge shown
crosses the Singapore River.
Photos circa 1958.
|Chinatown, Singapore, 1959.|
|Orchard Road, Singapore, 1959.|
|Scenes of Singapore.
Far right-Sky Globe Theatre at Great World.
House of Jade.
|Singapore Royal Island Golf Club swimming pool, Christmas 1958. Mum, Dad and Peter Hocking in the photograph. Singapore Swimming Club.|
|Haw Par Villa, Singapore, 1959. >|
|The Singapore House: a 'black & white bungalow', colonial built 1920s. (a) 5 Seton Close, (b) Pringitt Hill, Malacca.|
|Changi village, eastern end of Singapore, now demolished for the international airport complex.|
|Tin dredge, Malaya.
|Near the Malacca Swimming
The Malacca pool was a sea bath, not particularly attractive in itself, but in a pleasant setting.
|Panchor village on the Johore River, January 1959.|
Adapted for internet, public viewing.
20 July 2013