A few months ago I started collecting vintage photo cameras, with the goal of using them as props when shooting my usual fare in abandoned properties. (A secondary idea was to eventually use them as props also in portraits... but who knows when I'm going to venture into portraiture, if ever.) I've always had an interest in industrial design, and it only made sense for me to develop a particular interest in well-designed old photo gear.
So I've been looking for cameras that have quirky designs, or are otherwise classic.
At the moment, I own cameras from as early as 1926 and as recent as the mid-80's. Most are from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Some still work, some don't. A few are missing parts, like the Yashica-C below. Most look in pretty good shape considering their age, a couple show the wear 'n' tear of a lifetime of use or neglect; others look minty like they're right out of the box – and some even came with the original packaging, manuals and warranty cards!
But all have, in my mind, a certain coolness to them.
My collection, almost without me noticing, has ballooned to about thirty items, including a handful of video cameras (mostly 8mm). I hunt down the cameras locally when I receive a hint from a friend or a photographer, or just by scanning local online second-hand sale sites. Some sellers are people trying to get rid of old stuff so they can reclaim their basement, probably to store other newer stuff that they will one day sell too. Others, however, are full-fledged collectors who have reached a point in their lives when they don't have any more patience to keep their old cameras clean, organized, or safe from damage.
One of these old-time collectors asked me about my cameras and wondered if I had an online showcase for them.
Enter this blog.
I don't know what the entries will look like, though – I'll just play it by ear. I might upload a photo of a camera every week (or couple weeks), include a brief description, ramble a bit, throw in a personal/curious note or two, and maybe add some specs. We'll see.
As soon as I figure out how to open the comments at the bottom of each entry, I will. For the time being, please use the link at the top of this post.
Thanks for reading.