Participants at the Richmond Camera Swap Meet and Sale. (John Enman photo).

Camera sale the same but different with masks

Photography with John Enman

Jo and I joined our friends Laurie and Habiba at the Richmond Camera Swap Meet and Sale this past weekend. We were excited to finally be able to attend another camera-packed event after the exhausting year-long wait caused by the pandemic.

As I wrote last week, we overnighted at the coastal village of Steveston.

I got up early the morning of the camera sale and sat by the open window looking at the ocean, breathed in the cool salt air and listened to the seagulls for quite a while on that clear blue day before packing my car and heading to the camera sale location.

Gosh, it couldn’t have been a better morning.

We first stopped at a coffee shop for a takeout breakfast and still arrived at the South Arm United Church by 8 a.m. to join the gaggle of sellers carrying, pulling and pushing crates filled with photography equipment into the hall. We were directed to our reserved tables, instructed to wear masks and shown the large bottles of hand sanitizer.

My friend Laurie and his wife were already there. They left their home in Kamloops very early to make the more than four-hour drive through the mountains that morning. That meant they were on the road by 4 a.m. I remember doing that years ago, but those times are long past – I just don’t have the stamina anymore. Besides I like making the camera sales a bit of a holiday. Sure there is the additional cost of renting a hotel room and eating out, but I do enjoy the adventure.

Not much has changed…but the masks?

The frenzy and excitement of the used camera sale are still the same. There are still lots of like-minded people talking about cameras and photo gear. There are still lots of great money-saving deals and there is, as always, an electricity in the air that is energizing and helps make the event one of the friendliest places on earth.

Ahh…but the masks.

A short time ago if anyone would have told me that I would be walking into a building filled with people wearing masks I would have thought they meant Halloween masks. And although I don’t at all mind doing my civic duty by wearing a mask I always have an uncomfortable feeling when I get out of my car and put on a mask over my mouth and nose. It’s as if I was some bank robber from one of those old black-and-white movies.

So there I was sitting at my table loaded with cameras I was hoping to sell while wearing an identity-hiding mask – talking with others that were hiding their identity from me.

I always watch body language and I really watch a prospective buyer’s face. How else can I tell if they are actually interested in that lens or are just lookie-loos spending the day wandering a noisy camera sale? Well I sure couldn’t do that, and it made selling harder, but Jo and I laughed a lot behind our masks and had fun with all those masked men and women anyway.

However, I have no doubt that under that face-covering there were some 20-somethings grimacing instead of smiling at my humour.

I am sure everyone who attended had a very good time at the Richmond Swap meet and camera sale. We sold some, bought some and had a great time meeting and talking with other photographers and in my mind (other than pointing our cameras and making pictures) it doesn’t get much better than that.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or

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