Good Karma

I sold an old Camera for some good karma. I was going to sell it for money. I justified the purchase of the new one by telling myself I could defray the cost by selling the old one. But by the time the money was spent and the cost lost in the budget of an expensive vacation to China, where I broke it in, it seemed like the need to defray the cost had passed.

I bought my “new” camera on Ebay, along with an old manual focus lens and some other accouterments but I was a little disappointed at what people were getting for my old camera, well reviewed sellers, and then you have to figure in ebay’s take and shipping costs. And I didn’t have any reviews by which buyers could find it in their hearts to trust me.

I found a better deal on Amazon – they wanted to buy it, as long as it was in the mint condition I said it was and had all of the original packaging. I had about 80% of the original packaging but I added an extra genuine Nikon battery and lens filters, which I pointed out in a note. I sent it all off with the understanding that I would not entertain a lower price and that they would send it back if they didn’t agree with my assessment, which they didn’t.

Then I heard through the grapevine that a cousin of mine (once removed) living on the west coast had recently become smitten with photography. I asked her if she wanted it and sent her some sample pictures I had taken with the camera. I actually did such a good job selling it that she offered to pay me something, but I stuck to my guns and gave it to her for good Karma.  

A picture I took with my old camera

She was excited to receive it and sent me a nice thank you note, which made me feel good enough, but here’s where the coincidence occurs.

I like to think this was the universe’s way of giving me something back, something merely commensurate with the deed which I don’t pretend to be any greater than it was. I know I didn’t solve the world’s problems. I gave a girl a camera. But I like to think that little things count and what I got in return counts.

So on the same day my cousin posts a picture of herself with her new camera

Kate with her Camera
Kate with my old Camera


a facebook friend posts an old picture from 1985 crediting the black and white to a mutual friend who I hadn’t seen or heard from in 33 years. Our friendship was short lived as it was, I met her and then shortly thereafter transferred to another college.

But there was one day that she and I spent together to buy our first 35mm SLRs. I had already decided on mine, having done some research, an Olympus OM1N, I believe it was, and I had an opinion on what she should buy as well. We went into Manhattan together and I recommended to her what was probably my second choice – I always felt a little worried that maybe I pushed her into the this camera because I wanted it, recommending to her a different camera than mine because I was unsure of my own choice. But she took my advice and bought a Canon AE1. Then we hung out in central park and she and I took our first pictures with our new cameras. I remember in particular there was a middle aged black man, probably about the age we are now, maybe even younger, dressed a bit formally. I believe he was leaning up against a tree, with one foot on the ground and one foot on the tree trunk, reading. I could be remembering this completely wrong, but suffice it to say it was a great character shot, the kind I would take surreptitiously with a telephoto lens, if I had one. She asked the man if she could take his picture, the right thing to do, and he said, “no.” 

I visited her page to see what is public and googled her, while my friend request was pending, not creepy, and discovered that she still shoots with Canon, and majored in photography and is now a professional photographer.

So within a day of planting a seed in the heart of my younger cousin with her first interchangeable lens DSLR (the modern equivalent of the film cameras we bought in 1985), I find out what became of an old friend by a photograph that was taken with her first camera which I helped her buy.

I realize that she may not remember it the same way. Maybe she doesn’t think I helped her at all. In fact, I know from past experience that sometimes when I think I help a person with advice or a good deed, that the event does not resonate as significantly with them. If I remember it, it may be because it helped me to realize something about myself. I still nurture a love of photography, after all. Maybe she’s the one who helped me. But it still feels nice to see that there is a tree that grew from a seed I may have helped plant 33 years ago. The re-acquaintance with an old friend is a gift, but the knowledge that something I did helped someone in the long run, that’s good to know too.

Fe at CP
Fernanda at Central Park 1985

I thought she’d remember me, but I wasn’t sure. I will always remember her because she had a way of making sure of it. She was from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I don’t know if this was a Brazilian thing or if it was unique to her, but she would initiate you into her circle of friends in a way that was funny as shit to me at the time. She’d saddle up behind you when you were in a group, focused on talking to someone and she would lean down behind you and actually bite you in the ass. You, of course, would jump and everyone would laugh. In fact she was known for this, and on another occasion I was with the woman who introduced us, the one who distracted me so that I could get my ass biten, and we were in Manhattan purchasing a gift for Fernanda, a custom made T-shirt that had a picture of a spider on it and the words “ass biter.”

She accepted my friend request and answered my message telling me that I had a good memory because I remembered what kind of Camera she bought.

I remember more than that, ass biter. Hope all is well.  Keep taking pictures.

Fe and me on the day we bought our cameras
Fe and me the day we bought our cameras


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