Sunday, September 21, 2008


Crown Graphic

Vintage Crown Graphic 4 x 5 inch press camera, 1947-1955.

It looks at you, this machine of metal, cloth, wood, leather, and sparkling glass. And then it blinks, freezing time in a wafer-thin slice. Unsparing, unflinching.

Cameras - the photographic kind - have changed a lot in the 180-odd years since Nicéphore Nièpce first captured a permanent image on a bitumen-coated plate. Nowadays, they are electronic marvels, recording images on a digital screen. But there is a beauty and precision that the Old-School devices possess that the newer models (however utilitarian) will never approach.

Baby Rolleiflex

This “Baby” Rolleiflex (1957-1961) used 127-size film to create 4 x 4 cm images.

Kodak folding camera

No. 3-H Kodak folding pocket camera, 1900-1915.

This one, with a Kodak ball-bearing shutter, dates from between 1908-15 and used 118-size roll film, producing six 8 x 10.5 cm pictures. It’s a work of sculptural art as well as a precision instrument that still functions perfectly. Too bad 118 roll film has gone the way of the passenger pigeon.

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