I said I was going to photograph the lovely old Polaroid folding camera. Despite my best intentions and the best intentions of my father, neither of us could find it. However, I did find the ancient Kodak Medalist II. Although it’s not as old as some of the other cameras in my father’s collection, it is by far the most worn and well-traveled of them all. My father acquired it while cleaning out a photofinishing plant in Wisconsin after the place went out of business. The Medalist’s owner had died by then. Reportedly, he was world traveler, and this camera was his companion on many adventures.
The Medalist II was manufactured in the late 1940s. It was a fine camera in its time with rangefinder and other focusing helps. Like many items from that era, it was built like a tank. This top view shows just how wide it is.
The focusing mechanism is also quite rigid and sturdy. In the camera’s present state of disrepair, it is difficult to turn.
You’ve probably noticed I’ve made no attempts to clean or retouch this relic. My father decided years ago that it should stay as he found it: someone’s old companion in adventure bearing the marks and dirt of its life and adventures. Although the former owner had it repaired on several occasions, it would take a lot to get this one back in shooting order even if we were to try. I’d estimate the last repair was about a decade before my father acquired the camera.
This Medalist II belongs to the past. However, they are such fine cameras that some people are still fixing them up and shooting with them. Here’s one man’s story of getting his Medalist II in working order: http://blog.timesunion.com/chuckmiller/welcoming-the-kodak-medalist-ii/21899/
Next Time: Fireworks
It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is gone already. I shot the fireworks lat night, but I promised a camera post this week, and I didn’t have much time to edit today.
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.