Saturday, December 12, 2009

Click: 1929 to 2009

I was buying a vintage item on Etsy for someone for the holidays, and I happened to notice that the seller was also selling this little oddity for $8:


...and, always a sucker for a deal on combined shipping, I nabbed it. It's a Brownie (box camera) Model 2-F, probably from around the late 1920s to early 1930s.

We got it in the mail a couple of weeks ago, got some film, and just started messing with it on the night of the snowstorm. We cleaned it, found the old manual (which is entertaining in itself), then we shot a roll of film. We were kind of just seeing if it worked at all - so we didn't pay much attention to the exposure time or subjects.

Today we walked down to the camera shop to pick up the prints (if it worked at all). We were thrilled to see a huge roll of negatives with things that looked pretty recognizable on it - but the camera shop folks (the best ones in town, so they should know) said they can't develop that size negative - it's like 2x3". Hmmm.

Then we thought, Photoshop can make things look like negatives, so maybe it can make things double negative (=positive). So we scanned in the negatives and messed around with the results.

From inside the dining room, through windows, stained glass panel, and plastic (not bad!)

Just after the snowstorm, the garage.

We actually took the photos 'blind' - all the silver had flaked off the viewfinder mirrors and I didn't want to open it up to replace them with film in; now you can actually see something with new mirrors so the next photos should be better composed! Our scans were not at the best resolution and we can play more with contrast - but it was totally an amazing process:
  • to use a camera with absolutely no electronics, batteries, buttons, beeps, etc.
  • to see the giant negatives (when was the last time you saw film negatives?)
  • to realize the camera worked
  • to take something from 1929 or so, snap a totally mechanical photo, then 'develop' it on a computer in 2009.
I feel like we just came out of a time machine. Weird...

4 comments:

Iris said...

They look great! How cool. I have two late 1940s cameras and haven't used them in years because of the difficulty in finding a place that can deal with the larger negatives. Thanks for the idea!

Black Dog's Photographer said...

Love the old cameras and using film. Great job - I'd love to see more.

Beth and Dave Kn├╝rdmann said...

Dave and I just think you're so cool. He just read this post today and called out to me about it. I love that you order a box, a box! because it has free shipping. Seriously. I love the photos. I hope you continue taking pictures. And to scan them in, and photoshop it? We think you're brilliant. And we're right!

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