Posts Tagged ‘history’

I found a great article on buying the older retro cameras on Ebay.

The trouble is, after you have read this you are going to be poor and partner-less.  On the brighter side, you will have an immense collection of the greatest light recording tools on the planet!

Enjoy.

“One thing I’m always amazed at is how some of the best cameras can be bought on ebay at great prices simply because few sellers spend just a few minutes cleaning up the cameras they find at garage sales or in the attic before photographing them and listing them.  The metal bodied cameras of the 1930’s through 1970s were built like battleships.  They clean up beautifully.  I’ve collected more than 150 cameras on ebay over the last 2 years and have had great luck in winning high quality equipment that I shoot at least a roll of film with each of them.

Somebody may consider this a sacriledge, but I clean up each and every one of them using baby wipes.  These things clean up everything from leather to metal and plastic parts.  and I have never seen it damage any camera with whatever chemicals are in the wipe.  Maybe some other brand might do damage, but I can vouch that the Kirkland brand from Costco does no harm and does a great job in taking off everything but corrosion.  Clean lens glass with proper lens cloths, though and use proper lens cleaning fluid (if you must) so you don’t take the delicate coating off lenses and mirrors.

Beyond that, one usually just needs to replace the light seals on most cameras and get the proper batteries and then you have a camera that takes great, razor sharp pictures.  The great news is that there are great sellers on ebay that sell light seal replacement kits and hard to find batteries.  I’ve bought from each of them on more than one occasion and have been very happy with their products.  I suppose the most common of the no-longer-available batteries is the 625 mercury cell that was commonly used in such popular cameras of the 1960’s and 1970’s like the Cannon FTb SLR, the Canonet Series of Rangefinder Cameras, The Nikkormat FTn, Nikon F, and the Minolta SRT Series of SLR’s.  Sure, there are ways to use hearing aid batteries to replace this no longer available button cel, but I’m a very satisfied user of the Wein Cel  MRB625 that provides the exact 1.35Volt power those cameras (and their meters) were designed to use.  Even though they are the zinc/air type they still last over a year in storage after the tab has been removed.  At about $6 per cel they are worth being able to use these classic cameras at their original specs.

Another great product to know about in restoring old cameras is Ronsonal Lighter Fuel.  Used sparingly, this is a wonderful solvent that frees stuck parts such as leaf shutters and aperture blades.  It is thought to be a very pure solvent that leaves little or no residue after it evaporates.  I’ve been able to take wonderful pictures with many seemingly hopeless cameras because this stuff loosened up the old lubricant in cameras that haven’t been used in decades.  Usually, there’s nothing else wrong with them”.

article by Ebay user impu1se82

 

This is what was delivered shortly after I read this

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And luckily, impressively, I’m still with my girl. Phew haha. Merry Christmas!

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The street I live on has seen much change in years gone by. It has moved on from the days it was nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” to the vast ethnic diversity that can be seen there today. I decided to go up and down the Dublin city centre stretch and show the business’s from circa 1960 to present day.

1960 Eddie Thornton’s Grocery Store

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1964 Gregory Conlon’s Curio Shop

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1975 James and Seamus Traver’s of Travers Photography

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2001 Khuram Khan Business Solutions

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2009 Waqas Baig New Image Barber Shop

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2010 Pasha Khan Style and Style

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All image credits to Shuttermaniac.

In keeping with the family connection to explore the notion of how photography inspires us, I asked my sister to recall a story relating to a cousin of ours.

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Lisa. My younger sister.

“My brother asked me to collaborate on his photography post series Monster Under The Bed as in our family we have all witnessed first-hand the superpower of the photograph. Lee sees the world through different eyes and shares his unique view with us all through his captivating photography. I also see the world differently with the help of photographs, and I’ll explain the reasons why”.

Using Photography as a Tool for Emotional Therapy;

Most of us will look through our collection of family photographs from time to time, and remember fondly (or not so in some cases!) the event or occasion that took place when the photograph was captured – reminding us of when it was taken, who we were with, what we were doing, how that event impacted our lives etc. Such reminiscence using photographs is often used as a form of therapeutic treatment in the care of elderly dementia patients, giving them a real sense of belonging, importance and of peace, in a time of difficulty. But it doesn’t stop there – many of us will use photographs for the same purpose, remembering happy times and helping us to maintain or improve our emotional wellbeing, and in coping with life’s challenges.

To put this into context, I’ll share my cousin’s story. By the age of just 15 he had tragically lost both of his parents, my own Aunt and Uncle. His photographs of them became a treasured collection of his memories, captured ‘forever’ in print. However, some years later a devastating house fire destroyed most of these images, leaving him with only one single photograph of his mum and dad together.  This photograph of course became extremely precious to him. He realised that any other photographs of his parents would be like gold dust to come by.

My mother knew she had a photograph of my cousin’s parents in an old album somewhere and wanted him to have it, but despite her hunting high and low and in all the nooks and crannies of every inch of her house, that wee photo completely eluded her grasp. She started to accept that perhaps she had lost this over the years of house moves and life moving on, but she never quite gave up on the idea of what that one single image could mean to my cousin. Very recently she uncovered an old box in her loft containing images from a lost era . One of which was the photograph of my cousin’s parents.

There was an extra sparkle clearly visible in this photograph – it didn’t only include his parents, but also showed that my Aunt was expecting company.

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A simple photograph, and an innocent shot, from a family birthday party back in August 1980.

From the moment I called my cousin to let him know, to the excitement when I sent the email with the scanned photo attached, and to the day I received the text message from him telling me of the joy he felt to see that image– I became inherently aware of the superpower of the photograph – to bring happiness into someone’s world and sooth the delicate emotions from yesteryear. The earliest photograph of his existence so powerfully established in the simplest of their contemporary devices.  Respect fairly due to ‘the snapshot’. As Kodak’s earliest ad’s stated “You press the button, we do the rest”, Do we disagree?

Lisa Huggins.

As mentioned in my “About Me” page and in my previous “Monster Under The Bed” post I hinted upon my Grandmothers collection of photos under the bed. As the first part of this series was a bit heavy on the text side, I’ve decided to be easy on you guys. This is a small collection of the shots which made me want to be a Photographer today. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Bill & Elly Smith (c. 1948)  (1)Bill & Elly Smith (c. 1948)  (2)Bill & Elly Smith (c. 1948)  (3)Bill Smith next to his brother John's grave in Egypt 1942Elly SmithGreat Granny&Grampa SmithJohn (Ernest AJ) Smith (1919-1942)lastscanLinda Smith restored

I wont go into explicit detail as to who, what and where these were taken. I’ll let you make up you’re own mind. I will tell you though, that they span from 1945 to 1967.  From shortly after WWii finished to shortly before the best decade that music ever saw.

 

First of all it would be unfair to assume that all persons originating from Transylvania are Vampires. I live with one and my neck is relatively bite-free. I do, however keep a large garland of the age-old pungent rose in our kitchen. Joking aside, the reason I am interviewing this interesting gentleman today is to show the determination he had to provide for his family through a really tough Communist regime. These were times without Facebook and camera-phones, where making a side-living from photography could have landed him in serious trouble with the Romanian Securitate resulting in substantial fines, and even Jail. I got to know Dorin Avram and his family through my partner who happens to be his niece.

When did your passion for takings photographs begin?

“I always liked the Photography.  After I got married and we had the kids, I started it professionally to make a second income.”

Is there a photographer that you particularly liked back then?

“No, there was none.” (It’s important to state here that during Communism, only classic literature and political propaganda would have been stocked in the libraries. Researching photographers would have been near impossible).

What year did you start taking photographs to make extra income and what camera did you use?

” It was in the year of 1986. The camera was a  Zenit 35mm Rangefinder. I did weddings, baptism, birthdays and all kinds of family portraits”.

I assume you couldn’t send your negatives to a camera store to develop and print them. How did you get your hands on the chemicals and paper?

“Well, the photo paper I bought now and then from photo shops, but in bigger amounts for storage, and the solutions too at first. Later on I bought the chemicals from the pharmacy and mixed the solutions myself. I had a scale, that was very accurate. You had to have the exact amount of each chemical for the solution!”

Roughly how long during the Communist regime were you in business for?

“From 1986 until 1991 when we left Romania to come to Germany. The communist regime ended 1990, so I did it for about five years.”

It’s said that one in three Romanians was an informant for the Securitate*. Where did you do your processing and was it well hidden?

“There was a secret room in our apartment, which was my laboratory/ darkroom. I think it was around 1.5 by 2 meters long or something like that. The door to it was our coat rack and you could open it, if you pulled a secret crank and rolled the door open. The door was really heavy.”

I’m sure everyone would love to see how you organised yourself. Could you draw a quick picture of the set up?

If you were caught by the authorities what was the penalty?

“It was a high monetary penalty. How much it was, I don’t remember. Prison was less the case.”

Do you think people are as passionate about photography now, as you were back then?

“I think yes! I see Artemis for example; she takes pictures of everything… I think she is more passionate about it now than I was then. I tried a lot back then and I did everything myself (developing etc.), but today I think it would be too expensive for me…

Were there any moments when young children would sneak in and open the secret door, or turn on the light by accident, destroying your pictures?  For example young Artemis or Alexandru?

“Yes… but only the pictures on the paper were damaged, but it almost never happened. It wasn’t as tragic, because the film itself wasn’t damaged and I could just do it again and I had always enough photo paper.

Last year, at your son Alexandru’s wedding in Germany, I saw you with a Canon DSLR. Do you prefer digital cameras now, or do you still have a love for the old film?

“I prefer the digital photography, it’s so much easier!”

Would you ever get back into taking pictures for a living, or have you ‘hung up your boxing gloves’?

“If I could make good money again then probably I would.”

10-year college reunion partyBaptism group photobaptismfamily portrait

*Control over society became stricter and stricter, with an East German-style phone bugging system installed, and with Securitate recruiting more agents, extending censorship and keeping tabs and records on a large segment of the population. By 1989, according to CNSAS (the Council for Studies of the Archives of the Former Securitate), one in three Romanians was an informant for the Securitate. Due to this state of affairs, income from tourism dropped substantially by 75%, with the three main tour operators that organized trips in Romania leaving the country by 1987.

My Mother has one, my Grandparents have one and even I have one. There’s a very good chance we all have one. In one way or another we all have a box under our bed. It could be a shoe box or an album, in our hard drives or your Facebook page. We all have a collection of past memories documented in the most basic, yet powerful, form. I’m talking, of course, about our past photographs. Some of the memories we cherish, others we grimmace at. Either way we cant hide from the power that grips us when we are exposed to the monster of our past. The monster of Photography.

So where did it all start, and what genius occurred in order that we could take a photo of granny making an idiot of herself in her Santa hat? I found this timeline which makes for very interesting reading. Credit goes to Philip Greenspun of Photo.net

  • ancient times: Camera obscuras used to form images on walls in darkened rooms; image formation via a pinhole
  • 16th century: Brightness and clarity of camera obscuras improved by enlarging the hole inserting a telescope lens
  • 17th century: Camera obscuras in frequent use by artists and made portable in the form of sedan chairs
  • 1727: Professor J. Schulze mixes chalk, nitric acid, and silver in a flask; notices darkening on side of flask exposed to sunlight. Accidental creation of the first photo-sensitive compound.
  • 1800: Thomas Wedgwood makes “sun pictures” by placing opaque objects on leather treated with silver nitrate; resulting images deteriorated rapidly, however, if displayed under light stronger than from candles.
  • 1816: Nicéphore Niépce combines the camera obscura with photosensitive paper
  • 1826: Niépce creates a permanent image
  • 1834: Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper.
  • 1837: Louis Daguerre creates images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and “developed” with warmed mercury; Daguerre is awarded a state pension by the French government in exchange for publication of methods and the rights by other French citizens to use the Daguerreotype process.
  • 1841: Talbot patents his process under the name “calotype”.
  • 1851: Frederick Scott Archer, a sculptor in London, improves photographic resolution by spreading a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton dissolved in ether and alcoohol) and chemicals on sheets of glass. Wet plate collodion photography was much cheaper than daguerreotypes, the negative/positive process permitted unlimited reproductions, and the process was published but not patented.
  • 1853: Nadar (Felix Toumachon) opens his portrait studio in Paris
  • 1854: Adolphe Disderi develops carte-de-visite photography in Paris, leading to worldwide boom in portrait studios for the next decade
  • 1855: Beginning of stereoscopic era
  • 1855-57: Direct positive images on glass (ambrotypes) and metal (tintypes or ferrotypes) popular in the US.
  • 1861: Scottish physicist James Clerk-Maxwell demonstrates a color photography system involving three black and white photographs, each taken through a red, green, or blue filter. The photos were turned into lantern slides and projected in registration with the same color filters. This is the “color separation” method.
  • 1861-65: Mathew Brady and staff (mostly staff) covers the American Civil War, exposing 7000 negatives
  • 1868: Ducas de Hauron publishes a book proposing a variety of methods for color photography.
  • 1870: Center of period in which the US Congress sent photographers out to the West. The most famous images were taken by William Jackson and Tim O’Sullivan.
  • 1871: Richard Leach Maddox, an English doctor, proposes the use of an emulsion of gelatin and silver bromide on a glass plate, the “dry plate” process.
  • 1877: Eadweard Muybridge, born in England as Edward Muggridge, settles “do a horse’s four hooves ever leave the ground at once” bet among rich San Franciscans by time-sequenced photography of Leland Stanford’s horse.
  • 1878: Dry plates being manufactured commercially.
  • 1880: George Eastman, age 24, sets up Eastman Dry Plate Company in Rochester, New York. First half-tone photograph appears in a daily newspaper, the New York Graphic.
  • 1888: First Kodak camera, containing a 20-foot roll of paper, enough for 100 2.5-inch diameter circular pictures.
  • 1889: Improved Kodak camera with roll of film instead of paper
  • 1890: Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives, images of tenament life in New york City
  • 1900: Kodak Brownie box roll-film camera introduced.
  • 1902: Alfred Stieglitz organizes “Photo Secessionist” show in New York City
  • 1906: Availability of panchromatic black and white film and therefore high quality color separation color photography. J.P. Morgan finances Edward Curtis to document the traditional culture of the North American Indian.
  • 1907: First commercial color film, the Autochrome plates, manufactured by Lumiere brothers in France
  • 1909: Lewis Hine hired by US National Child Labor Committee to photograph children working mills.
  • 1914: Oscar Barnack, employed by German microscope manufacturer Leitz, develops camera using the modern 24x36mm frame and sprocketed 35mm movie film.
  • 1917: Nippon Kogaku K.K., which will eventually become Nikon, established in Tokyo.
  • 1921: Man Ray begins making photograms (“rayographs”) by placing objects on photographic paper and exposing the shadow cast by a distant light bulb; Eugegrave;ne Atget, aged 64, assigned to photograph the brothels of Paris
  • 1924: Leitz markets a derivative of Barnack’s camera commercially as the “Leica”, the first high quality 35mm camera.
  • 1925: André Kertész moves from his native Hungary to Paris, where he begins an 11-year project photographing street life
  • 1928: Albert Renger-Patzsch publishes The World is Beautiful, close-ups emphasizing the form of natural and man-made objects; Rollei introduces the Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex producing a 6×6 cm image on rollfilm.; Karl Blossfeldt publishes Art Forms in Nature
  • 1931: Development of strobe photography by Harold (“Doc”) Edgerton at MIT
  • 1932: Inception of Technicolor for movies, where three black and white negatives were made in the same camera under different filters; Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Edward Weston, et al, form Group f/64 dedicated to “straight photographic thought and production”.; Henri Cartier-Bresson buys a Leica and begins a 60-year career photographing people; On March 14, George Eastman, aged 77, writes suicide note–“My work is done. Why wait?”–and shoots himself.
  • 1933: Brassaï publishes Paris de nuit
  • 1934: Fuji Photo Film founded. By 1938, Fuji is making cameras and lenses in addition to film.
  • 1935: Farm Security Administration hires Roy Stryker to run a historical section. Stryker would hire Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, et al. to photograph rural hardships over the next six years. Roman Vishniac begins his project of the soon-to-be-killed-by-their-neighbors Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • 1936: Development of Kodachrome, the first color multi-layered color film; development of Exakta, pioneering 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera
  • World War II:
    • Development of multi-layer color negative films
    • Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa, Carl Mydans, and W. Eugene Smith cover the war for LIFE magazine
  • 1947: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour start the photographer-owned Magnum picture agency
  • 1948: Hasselblad in Sweden offers its first medium-format SLR for commercial sale; Pentax in Japan introduces the automatic diaphragm; Polaroid sells instant black and white film
  • 1949: East German Zeiss develops the Contax S, first SLR with an unreversed image in a pentaprism viewfinder
  • 1955: Edward Steichen curates Family of Man exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art
  • 1959: Nikon F introduced.
  • 1960: Garry Winogrand begins photographing women on the streets of New York City.
  • 1963: First color instant film developed by Polaroid; Instamatic released by Kodak; first purpose-built underwater introduced, the Nikonos
  • 1970: William Wegman begins photographing his Weimaraner, Man Ray.
  • 1972: 110-format cameras introduced by Kodak with a 13x17mm frame
  • 1973: C-41 color negative process introduced, replacing C-22
  • 1975: Nicholas Nixon takes his first annual photograph of his wife and her sisters: “The Brown Sisters”; Steve Sasson at Kodak builds the first working CCD-based digital still camera
  • 1976: First solo show of color photographs at the Museum of Modern Art, William Eggleston’s Guide
  • 1977: Cindy Sherman begins work on Untitled Film Stills, completed in 1980; Jan Groover begins exploring kitchen utensils
  • 1978: Hiroshi Sugimoto begins work on seascapes.
  • 1980: Elsa Dorfman begins making portraits with the 20×24″ Polaroid.
  • 1982: Sony demonstrates Mavica “still video” camera
  • 1983: Kodak introduces disk camera, using an 8x11mm frame (the same as in the Minox spy camera)
  • 1985: Minolta markets the world’s first autofocus SLR system (called “Maxxum” in the US);In the American West by Richard Avedon
  • 1988Sally Mann begins publishing nude photos of her children
  • 1987: The popular Canon EOS system introduced, with new all-electronic lens mount
  • 1990: Adobe Photoshop released.
  • 1991: Kodak DCS-100, first digital SLR, a modified Nikon F3
  • 1992: Kodak introduces PhotoCD
  • 1993: Founding of photo.net (this Web site), an early Internet online community; Sebastiao Salgado publishes WorkersMary Ellen Mark publishes book documenting life in an Indian circus.
  • 1995Material World, by Peter Menzel published.
  • 1997: Rob Silvers publishes Photomosaics
  • 1999: Nikon D1 SLR, 2.74 megapixel for $6000, first ground-up DSLR design by a leading manufacturer.
  • 2000: Camera phone introduced in Japan by Sharp/J-Phone
  • 2001: Polaroid goes bankrupt
  • 2003: Four-Thirds standard for compact digital SLRs introduced with the Olympus E-1; Canon Digital Rebel introduced for less than $1000
  • 2004: Kodak ceases production of film cameras
  • 2005: Canon EOS 5D, first consumer-priced full-frame digital SLR, with a 24x36mm CMOS sensor for $3000; Portraits by Rineke Dijkstra

 

Where on earth would we be without it? I hate to say it but we would be lost, then forgotten, without Photography. Part two coming soon. In the post I will telling my story of the positives and negatives of keeping a family photographic archive.