Another week, another camera, another Ebay find, another Kodak. I've been wanting a straight up box camera for a while and was able to find this one for $5.50. Yes, there are more exotic, more colorful boxes out there, but this one is original--the "Model-T" of cameras that made photography affordable to the masses. It retailed for $1 in 1900.
Now that I have basic Brownie, the standard bearer box camera, I'll be on the lookout for some of the more unique and harder to find front designs and body colors.
The latest vintage camera buy--a Yashica Electro 35. The Electro 35 is a rangefinder camera, first introduced in 1966. I like the cheap price, $10 on Ebay for what was once a revolutionary camera.
The Electro 35 features a light light meter that remains active as long as the shutter is open, so if during the exposure the scene happens to darken or lighten, the exposure control responds. In addition, it is an aperture-priority camera which means you set your desired aperture/depth of field, and the camera adjusts shutter speed for you. There are two warning lights on top of the camera to help you with this.
Yet another Ebay find--got this Kodak Baby Brownie for $7. The Baby Brownie is a good Art Deco companion camera to the Kodak Bullet that I bought a while back. It features a lever actuated shutter--pretty cool! Another dead simple and stunningly beautiful (to me at least) Walter Dorwin Teague design.
I love New York. I was shooting this food cart from the middle of the street while the traffic just to the left was stopped at a red light. The vendor saw me, opened the door mid-customer, and gave me this pose. The light changed to green, the traffic started moving, and the vendor turned around and gave his customer 59 cents in change.
This week's vintage find is again from Ebay and cost me $5. Made from 1947-1953, the Agfa (and sometimes Ansco) Pioneer was designed by famed industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss of Bell Telephone fame. The camera features a film plane that is curved and the lens is designed to match the curvature of the film plane, a needle-eye small viewfinder, and a red shutter release button. It had me at the red button.
Here we go, starting off on a Monday morning with the real deal, photographs from the pit, the site, hallowed ground. You think you have a tough day, sitting at your desk, dozing off by 3? Imagine your office is 5 stories below street level and carpeted with mud 6" deep. You have to wear earplugs because there are dozens of mega-machines roaring away, some with wheels bigger than houses, that could tear your head off and not even notice you were there. The subway trains trundle through the site every few minutes on tracks carried above on a wild west style truss bridge, but you can't hear the trains through the whirring and whizzing of the earth movers, drills, and cranes. This is what its like on a site where no less than 3 towers, a transit hub, a museum, a cultural center, and more are being built simultaneously. There's no room for mistakes.
A few weeks ago, I heard from a little bird about a vendor at the Antiques Garage having 1,500 vintage cameras for sale. There was no way I was missing that even though it meant getting up at 5 AM on a Saturday. I went and wow, was it ever worth it just to see and check out so many vintage cameras in person. Evidently the vendor came across a hoarder...but instead of hoarding the usual everyday household stuff, this guy was a camera hoarder! The vendor had a whole truck chock full of cameras and gear and they only had enough floor space at the Antiques Garage to put out maybe 250-500 cameras at a time. There were tables and boxes of cameras. Amazingly, as it seems is hardly ever the case in Manhattan, the vendor was letting gear go for reasonable prices (I guess he had so much merchandise to move so why mess around). I suspect he got this enormous lot for a steal.
I was on the lookout for two cameras--an Olympus Pen (a half-frame camera) and a Polaroid SX-70 (one of the original ones with the stainless, red shutter release and the great tick marks around the lens). The vendor had maybe 20 SX-70s and just as I walked up to his table, someone else said he would take all the SX-70s (this guy was no joke--he ended up buying well over a grand worth of cameras, Polaroids and others). I quickly headed to the other side of the vendor's space and snapped up the one SX-70 in sight before it got thrown into the other guy's deal. Lucky for me it was just the one I wanted and in great cosmetic and working condition!
The SX-70, introduced in 1972, is a folding single lens relfex Land Camera from Polaroid. It was the first instant SLR in history and the first camera to use Polaroid's new integral print film, which developed automatically without the need for intervention from the photographer. The camera was revolutionary at the time and I think the design, especially of the original SX-70, is classic. A big add to the collection.
No Olympus Pen this time...the vendor had some, but they were still on the truck when I was there.
Joe Woolhead (and here) is the official photographer for the construction work going on at World Trade Center site. A few weeks ago, he was kind enough (and I cannot stress how kind this guy is) to give me a firsthand tour of all the work going on at the towers, museum, performing arts center, and transit hub.
The place was buzzing like a beehive and walking the site with him was like hitting the trenches of battle (lots of mud, pits, heavy metal, and loud noise). I'll be posting more images from my visit each week for a few weeks as it will take a few posts to show you the massive scale of the place, the ongoing work, and the people getting it all done.
Joe is all over the site each and every day, getting great shots of history in the making. Its a supremely gratifying but very demanding job. There is so much happening on a daily basis on a job this big, and I can only imagine from my few hours with him just how much work covering a site like this can be. Bravo to him for having the energy to keep up with it all and get amazing photographs.
No tan "photographer's vest" for Joe. He rolls like a straight up iron-worker, complete with backwards hardhat. You can see by walking the site with him that he's earned the respect of everyone there and he's one of the guys. He may not be doing the actual construction work, but he's definitely not afraid to mix it up and get dirty to get the shot.
Big thanks goes out to you, Joe--for showing me around your jobsite and granting me a wonderfully moving experience (a day I will not soon forget).
The 3D Nishika 8000N is a lenticular stereo camera produced and released commercially in the early 1980s. It was a direct descendant of the Nimslo. Most of its functions are fixed including focus and exposure. The Nishika can produce autostereoscopic prints, three-dimensional images that do not require any glasses or special equipment to view. To produce the 3D prints, the film must be sent to a lenticular printer for processing. The camera works by snapping four conventional, two-dimensional photographs simultaneously, with each of its four lenses. Each image is 18 mm wide and 22mm high. There are two images in each conventional 35mm frame, meaning that 18 3D prints can be made from a roll of 36 exposures (the photographs themselves are 3.5×4.5 inches). Each of these images differs only very slightly in perspective so that, when spliced together, they form one 3-dimensional photograph. This is achieved through a special printing process.
This camera is so 80's! It looks like the long lost cousin of the Tron Recognizer or an extra from Knight Rider, there was an introductory VHS tape starring Vincent Price, and to round out this camera's 80's credentials, Barry Manilow was a big fan! Like, how totally awesome. I like it for it's clumsy styling and place in photographic history. I don't know how practical it is to actually shoot with "'Ol Four Eyes" even though there is supposedly still one processing company that can make lenticular prints (in Canada). Picked it up on Ebay for $2.21.
Last week I got an inside look at the work going on at the World Trade Center site. It was a mind-blowing experience, to say the least. I'll be putting up a more comprehensive post (or posts) starting next week. Until then, here's a teaser--some photos taken at WTC Tower 1 aka the Freedom Tower.
Timothy Schenck is a New York City-based photographer shooting a little bit of everything. He does not enjoy talking about himself in the third person.
(All photos by Timothy Schenck unless noted otherwise. If you wish to inquire about usage (and that means for any and all usage, including reblogging) of images on this blog, please contact him via his website.)