The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Not Your Teenager’s Camera

In fact, almost no one would use a camera like any of these today. There old. Really old. The newest of the bunch is this 1950s Kodak Brownie Hawkeye with optional flash. It’s a fairly common relic of its day, made of bakelite, the plastic of the time. Also a cute “little” camera.

Even older is this Kodak box camera. I’m not sure of the exact age, but I know this basic style of camera was manufactured from around 1900 through at least the 1920s. It features the same basic controls and elements as the above camera, but it’s made of earlier materials and is much more primitive.

Starting around 1910 (judging by the patent date on the camera) and through at least the 1920s, Kodak also made these elegant folding cameras. Such cameras are less common than their boxy brethren. This one has a few marks on her, but she’s still in decent shape. Folding cameras are a testament to the ingenuity of their time. This one opens with the press of a button concealed under the casing and only vaguely hinted at by a small circle in the decoration. Very clever. (Now that I mention it, you can probably see it, but trust me, the uninformed can spend hours trying to figure out how to open it.)

Cameras like these maybe outdated, but they still have a place in history, as well as a place in the hearts of many camera lovers.

Next Week: Outdoors or Color Study

Spring is progressing in my area, so I may photograph that. On the other hand, I had this idea of doing a color study of sorts. I’d pick a color and only photograph items of that color. This should provide practice using texture and form and seeing how they interact with the emotional impact of color.


7 responses

  1. Colin Wolcott

    i really like the final one. how old is it and what type is it?

    April 4, 2011 at 4:11 am

    • It’s a Kodak folding camera from about the 1910s-1920s. That’s pretty much all I know. I saw some ads for similar cameras in a reproduction of the 1928 Sears and Robuck catalog.

      April 4, 2011 at 5:09 am

  2. Wow. I have vague toddler-ish memories of playing with an old unused camera very, very similar to the #2 image (the 1910-1930 version).

    I’m sure the camera I played with was my grandfather’s although I cannot remember where I was and where the camera went. I do recall the smell, texture (and taste!) of such worn and dusty leather and the way the metal latches moved.

    To me, there’s an old charm in the look/feel of such items that is now lost with current technology/gadgets.

    Thanks for the nostalgia trip!

    April 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    • What a great memory. I love the charm and nostalgia as well as seeing how things were made before computers. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. 🙂

      April 8, 2011 at 2:06 am

  3. My dad has one of those Brownie Hawkeyes.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:49 am

  4. Those are really cool. I have an old lubitel, and old Revere, an old Rolleiflex and quite a few others. Some are from my grandfather, others I’ve just accumulated over the years.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    • Most of the cameras I photograph are my dads. Some he actually used and just accumulated and some he bought or my mother found them for him. They’re always great conversation pieces.

      April 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm

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