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When I was around eight years old I broke my father’s Certo KN 35, a German film camera made mostly of plastic with silver finished metal bottom and upper body cover. Even though Certo produced only cheap and simple viewfinder cameras, in Communist Albania such an object was considered a luxury and a rare thing to own.


When my parents were not home, I would often sneak into their bedroom and climb on top of the dresser to reach for the key that would unlock the drawer where my father kept the Certo. It was not an easy task to accomplish but I would go through with it every time because I loved playing with that camera.


I knew that if I got caught I would be in a lot of trouble but that mattered very little to me. I enjoyed those moments acting out as a spy photographer on a secret mission to photograph my parents’ home while they were at work. It was better than playing with any of my toys and it brought me lots of joy…until the day I accidentally dropped it.


Only a few years ago I finally told my father about what happened. He was looking at some photos that I had taken and it brought back memories and his old camera came up in the conversation. It took me 24 years to tell my father that my love for photography was born the year I killed the Certo.

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