FERRANIA

I

This beautiful body is not just black, it is tar black;

you think your fingers will stick to it if you were to touch it.

These Vespa gray straps let you feel the Mediterranean breeze

when you put them around your neck.

This red lever attached to the barrel…

Isn't it like a rose pinned to the lapel of a gentleman's tuxedo

on his way to the yearly Republic ball?

He was a little tipsy as always,

Nurettin Amca, the friendly photographer of our neighborhood

who took the headshots for our elementary school id's

for 75 kurush instead of a lira,

for a discount of – he said – 50%.

Suddenly he became sober:

This is called an everset shutter;

you don't have to cock it – always ready to click.

One speed: 1/30 of a second – perfect for everything.

The lens, the finest meniscus, f/8:

Sharp from the tip of your nose to the end of the world.

He returned the plastic box camera – a sacred object –

to the front of his store window: FERRANIA – EURA: Made in Italy.

Talk to your father tonight: These babies sell like hot pita.


II

After loading the 120 black-and-white ORWO film,

in his third attempt after exposing two rolls to the light,

my father handed me back my Ferrania.

Let's go to Taksim Square

to take some pictures of our beloved Atatürk,

the founder of our young Republic.

You can make a nice portrait of a statue

even with a hand-held daguerreotype.




III

From 12 shots, you got only one print,

sneered my cousin, Nejdet Abi,

the photojournalist of the family.

Where's the head of Atatürk?

Did he become a ghost now?

Was he jumping up and down?

This camera is junk,

he said turning toward my father.

You should have gotten him

from the black market

a German AGFA Clark.

I had to wait a good 45 years

to touch another camera again:

In America.

All digital, all automatic.

Point-and-Shoot.

Made in Japan.


Adnan Adam Onart

Cambridge MA 2017


Ferrania Eura

Photograph by Raúl Sá Dantas used by his permission