Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vintage Cameras .... a {developing} passion...

Last weekend my mother-in-law gave my eight year old son a vintage 'Brownie Junior' camera.  She also gave him a Polaroid camera from the 1970's, an automatic Konika from the 80's (which was his grandfather's) and we added my husband's 1980's Canon AL-1 SLR to the mix.

I have to be honest, aesthetically, the 'Brownie Junior' caught my eye.  The retro Art Deco pattern on the face of the camera, its perfect 'cubular' appearance ...... it quickly took a place on our mantle just because of it's fabulous style!

The fact that the boy loves his growing collection of old cameras --- speaks to my heart as a photographer.  In fact there was even a roll of film in the little 'Brownie' that we are going to develop to see what it might reveal--images taken possibly sixty or more years ago......

Yesterday was the birthday of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the renown French photographer who began his career in the 1930's and shot 1000's upon 1000's of rolls of 36exp film, traveling the world with his German-made hand held Leica camera.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1908-2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Leonor Fini by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris-1933

Henri Cartier-Bresson- Children Playing by the Berlin Wall, 1962
Considered to be the father of modern photojournalism, he is also reputed to be the creator of 'street' or 'life-reportage' photography.

I hope that the passion for vintage cameras and hunger for knowledge about photography becomes a permanent part of my son's childhood and someday adulthood ... I would be thrilled!

Many people collect vintage cameras.  Some are photographers who love the history or the mechanics of old cameras, some are designers and decorators that love the aesthetics and display-value that the variety of styles lend and statements that vintage cameras create in an environment.  In most cases, vintage cameras are quite affordable, many starting under $20.  Unusual or novelty cameras can be found in the range of $50 to $100.  I have heard that if you spent a lifetime collecting vintage cameras, you could still not possibly collect one of every single camera ever produced.

Although .....  I think we are off to a good start!

Happy collecting --- and shooting mes amis!