For many of us, at least of my generation, the Sixties and the era set off by the Kodak Instamatic 100 was our first personal experience of using a camera, but it's easy to forget that we were by no means the first generation to have access to cameras in our childhood. My father Charles Bernard 'Bud' Payne (1928-2006) was sixteen when he bought his first camera, an early start at what was to remain a keen interest for the rest of his life. I'm fortunate that he reminisced about his early photographic experimentation in a letter to me some years ago .
Michael Kirk, Tony & Ronnie Gray, Bunnie Payne & 'Rusty'
Woodlands Farm, Chellaston, c. April 1944
Taken with a Kodak Six-20 Folding Brownie by Bud Payne 
My Dad bought his first camera at his uncle's shop: A.J. Brown, M.P.S., Dispensing Chemist, 202 Burton Rd, Derby .
When I acquired my first camera - a 620 [sic - usually called a Six-20] Kodak Folding Brownie (fixed aperture, exposure and focus, but I had a close-up lens too) in March 1944, the first film (Verichrome) was inexpertly processed and became badly reticulated. I discarded the eight neg[ative]s years ago and only have one print - of Bunnie with some young boys and Rusty.
Kodak Six-20 Folding Brownie with close-up lens 
Among the discarded prints was one of a rabbit called Benny - a Dutch buck. Well I expect it was a buck, but sexing at an early eage was tricky, and I recall that Hansel became Gretel when the organs were easier to identify. Why 'Benny'? You may well ask. About three months later I photographed 'Benny washing his face' on a piece of R.A.F. Pan film - no neg or print of that has survived, although according to my notes, the negs were OK. I took no more rabbit pictures, and I think this must be evidence of my declining interest in keeping livestock - I had other, competing hobbies, including photography!
Self portrait, Charles Bernard Payne
"Rustington," 36 Glenwood Road, Chellaston, August 1944
Taken with a Kodak Six-20 Folding Brownie by Bud Payne 
The lad who reticulated film A4 was E.K.C. Varty, a school mate, originally from Calke, then living at Alvaston, who had great ambitions in the photography field. He organized the Union of Amateur Photographers, renamed the Trent Vale Photographic Society and finally the Association of Young Photographers, whose first exhibiton was held at Bemrose School in 1945. There were 20 exhibitors, only 5 from Derby, of whom I was one, as were Ken Varty and Allan Bell. Members were divided into groups of half a dozen - we sent round prints for criticism by fellow group members every few weeks, but when Ken, Allan and others were called up for National Service in late 1945 the organisation collapsed. Ken was a funny chap, cleverer than I imagined, became a professor of French, wrote a book on the fox and died of cancer - probably in his early 40s. He and great pal Tom Roylance (prof. of physics, Middle Eastern univ.) amused themselves in season by blowing up frogs through straws inserted in the cloaca. I don't know which species of frogs are carcinogenic.
I forget where we bought the expired R.A.F. film, but it came in 11 ft x 5½ inches rolls (in tins) which I cut down to size using a home made device covered in black velvet which Bunnie helped me to operate in the cubby-hole under the stairs - a tricky job in total darkness. A rather crude exercise, but films, like rabbit food, were hard to come by in 1944, and this material was cheap: 10 shillings a roll. The following yaer Allan Bell and I made an enlarger, the lens for which came from an old 'stand camera' given to me by Uncle Arthur. A lot of time and ingenuity was spent on this piece of equipment; it never performed well because the optics weren't quite right, but it gave us a good deal of fun (=exasperation). Why on earth didn't I photograph it instead of clouds and more clouds?
Agfa Iso-Pak camera 
Some two and a half decades later and I was setting out on my own photographic adventures for the first time. Judging by the date ascribed to an enlargement of this photograph in my mother's photo album, I think I must have received the Agfa Iso-Pak camera (shown above) as a ninth birthday present, just before Christmas the previous month. Although I can't locate the original negatives at the moment - they must be in a "safe" place, I suppose - I believe that this is a print from the first film that I took with that camera.
Diana Payne, Baines Avenue, Salisbury, January 1971
(outside Caves Hotel)
Taken with an Agfa Iso-Pak by Brett Payne 
I feel sure that it had been purchased at my Dad's favourite camera shop, "Salisbury Photographic & Electrical" on Gordon Avenue, and the first few photographs were taken in Salisbury (as it was called then) after perhaps buying a 126 film cartridge on a return visit. We lived several hours' car journey away, and only went to the city a couple of times a year, when we would stay at the Caves Motel.
I recall one of the duty managers being a portly man who I imagined might be Burl Ives's older brother, and the magnificent breakfasts served on silver trays (well, stainless steel, perhaps) with toast, marmalade and butterballs! One of the other shots on this mislaid film was the other duty manager, taller and thinner and not nearly as jovial, but obviously attentive enough to precocious nine year-olds, posing next to the hotel entrance. This photograph, however, is of my sister Diana, standing in the "car park" on Baines Avenue, in pretty much the same dutiful pose that her Aunt Bunnie had used a generation earlier.
I went on to use that camera for some years, going through many spools of both black-and-white and colour film, although limited by conflicting demands on meagre pocket money, until I upgraded to a cheap but much appreciated Ricoh 35mm SLR in late November or early December 1983.
Perfect Shot™ 110 Fisher-Price camera 
Twenty-five years after my first efforts my eldest daughter, then four years old, was the recipient of a Fisher-Price camera that we, I am reliably informed, bought for her at a small shop in the town of Lefkas at the northern tip of the Greek island of Lefkada. Although patented in March 1995, the model (#3815), which took 110 size cartridge film, was apparently first introduced, according to some sources, in 1993 or 1994 [9,10]. The advertising blurb states that it was "designed for children ages 5 years and older," but I guess we thought she could manage it alright, and she did. The poor quality plastic lens, fixed aperture, shutter speed and focus and the 110 film format, though, while making it very simple to operate, restricted its capabilities considerably.
Her first picture appears to have been a portrait of Gill and I in the spotless second-floor "Zimmer frei" in Lefkas where we spent a night before heading south, via ferry, to Ithaka . By correlation with my own photographs of that trip, which are dated, it must have been taken on the 6th October 1996.
Louise Payne, Monemvassia (Lower Town), Greece, 15 October 1996
Taken with a Fisher-Price Perfect Shot camera by Lesley Payne 
By the time she took this portrait of her younger sister Louise, hamming it up for the camera - never one to pose demurely - nine days later, we had island-hopped to Patra, driven south to Olympia and the west coast of the Peloponnese Peninsula, down and around it's southern tip, and then across to the impressive citadel of Monemvassia.
Lesley Payne, Venetian Fortress, Methoni, Greece, 12 October 1996
Taken with Minolta XG-9 35mm SLR Camera & Sigma 28-200 Zoom Lens by Brett Payne 
This shot taken by me shows Lesley, who did pose demurely if slightly self-consciously, with her camera at the ready inside the Venetian military fortress of Methoni, memorable for its massive bastioned ramparts and the fortified Bourtzi islet.
Now that we have all graduated to digital formats, it will be interesting to see what the next generation use to take their photographs, and what they choose as their first subjects. I suspect they will do as Allan Vestergard Nielsen described so simply, and yet eloquently, in My First Camera on his blog five years ago:
I got my first camera when I was 9 years of age. My father gave it to me on my birthday, and before the day was over I had taken the first roll of film. I did what every kid does when provided with a camera; I photographed my dog, my house, my friend, a flower, my parents and everything else I cherished. I was hooked on photography immediately - as I still am. And I discovered one of the main things about taking pictures; I could freeze the moment and preserve it as a memory.
Mosaic of "first photographs" from various sources [15-20]
Some haphazard scouting around on the net turned up several "first photographs," including a Flickr group entitled "The first picture we ever took." They all have a very similar feel about them, with their off-centred but familiar subjects, sometimes half out of the frame, tilted skylines, and always the low "child's eye" vantage point from which they were taken. Links to the images featured in the mosaic can be found at the end of the "References." Many thanks to the creators of the photos for their permission to include them here.
I wonder if you remember when you took your first photograph, and what camera you used. Do you still have a print of the photo, or the original camera, perhaps? Can you recall the circumstances surrounding those first few attempts at capturing your immediate surroundings: family, home, friends, pets? Does the image have a special meaning to you, or bring back particular memories? It's also worthwhile looking back amongst the photographs preserved by your parents and grandparents. Which of them might have been "first photographs"? Post a scan on your blog, along with your story, and please feel free to leave a note and link as a comment here so we can share in your reminiscences and discoveries.
And don't forget to head on over to Sepia Saturday 69, where you'll find plenty more to while away your weekend.
 Payne, Bud (2002) Letter to Brett Payne, dated 31 October 2002 at Borradaile Trust, Marondera, Zimbabwe, Collection of Brett Payne.
 Photograph of Michael Kirk, Tony & Ronnie Gray, Bunnie Payne & 'Rusty' in a field, near Woodlands Farm, Chellaston, c. April 1944, Paper print (77 x 53.5 mm), taken with Kodak Six-20 Folding Brownie Camera, by Bud Payne, Collection of Bud Payne.
 1941 Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, London: Kelly's Directories Ltd., Ancestry
 Image of Kodak Six-20 Folding Brownie with close-up lens, Courtesy of
 Photograph of Bud Payne at "Rustington, 36 Glenwood Road, Chellaston, August 1944, Paper print (55 x 795 mm), taken with Kodak Six-20 Folding Brownie, by Bud Payne, Collection of Bud Payne.
 Image of Agfa Iso-Pak camera, by Francois15 and courtesy of Flickr.
 Photograph of Diana Payne, Baines Avenue, Salisbury (outside Caves Hotel), January 1971, Taken with Agfa Iso-Pak Camera, by Brett Payne, Collection of Brett Payne.
 Image of Perfect Shot™ 110 Camera by Fisher-Price, by Mike Martin Wong and courtesy of Flickr.
 U.S. Patent 356,587, Photographic camera by Shuler et al. & Fisher-Price, Inc., Google Patents.
 #3815/#73815 Perfect Shot™ 110 Camera, by This Old Toy.
 (Not pictured) Photograph of Brett and Gill Payne, Lefkas, 6 October 1996, Taken with Fisher-Price Perfect Shot™ 110 Camera by Lesley Payne, Collection of Brett & Gill Payne.
 Photograph of Louise Payne, Monemvassia, 15 October 1996, Taken with Fisher-Price Perfect Shot™ 110 Camera by Lesley Payne, Collection of Brett & Gill Payne.
 Photograph of Lesley Payne, Venetian Fortress, Methoni, Greece, 12 October 1996, Taken with Minolta XG-9 35mm SLR Camera & Sigma 28-200 Zoom Lens by Brett Payne, Collection of Brett & Gill Payne.
 My First Camera", by Allan Vestergard Nielsen.
 My first photograph, Wyandotte, Michigan, 1958, by Hilarywho and courtesy of Flickr.
 First picture I ever took, Christmas 1965, taken with Kodak Instamatic 124 camera by Donna Marsh and courtesy of Flickr.
 My first photograph, Twin Lights, Highlands, New Jersey, September 1967, taken with Diana camera by Arthur Costigan and courtesy of Flickr.
 My first photographs, Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing, New York, taken with Imperial Instant Load 900 camera by Angela T.
 The first picture I ever took, undated, by lemonjenny and courtesy of Flickr.
 My dog Zip & trophy, Mt. Washington, Ohio, 1968, taken with Kodak Hawkeye Flashfun II by L. David Likes.