A Photographic Journey, 1972

This wondrous Kodak is the camera I used for my first real travel experience – a trip to Denmark in 1965.

old Kodak bellows camera shown from the sideYou can read about that experience which includes my first travel journal, a massive collection of tickets, photos I took and an itinerary.

I later carried this camera into a first-year photography course in art college in 1972.

There was a lot theoretical stuff, initially about how cameras worked which included us making a pinhole camera. My instructor was actually thrilled with my camera, although mostly because it reinforced some of the historic qualities of photography.

My camera from the back, showing the pop-up viewfinder for  horizontal ‘landscape’ views and the rewind peephole so you could check if the film was rewound.My first Kodak camera from the back, showing the pop-up viewfinder and the rewind peepholeI’m sure I still have the images I shot and developed somewhere, and if I find them I will put them in here – if I remember rightly they were of Gastown and quite awful. In the meantime I am adding a shot from Denmark in ’65 so one can appreciate the quality of this camera.1965 trip to Denmark: first photos: a windmillAt this point in my course we took a lot of theory about shutter speed and apertures, both of which this camera just happened to have, along with its own little tripod!My First Camera, a KodakA close-up of the lens. The f-stops were /12.5, /16, /22, and /32, so really long depth-of-field. The shutter speeds were limited to T (T, a shorter-timed exposure), B (Bulb, a longer-timed exposure where an attachment was used to trip the shutter therefore reducing potential camera shake) and I (Instant, your basic shutter speed, maybe 1/60th of a second???).Kodak camera up close showing f-stops and shutter time optionsBut now I digress, to some time spent in Havana, Cuba, and the amazing home-made ‘cameras’ found there.

This guy had gathered a fair-sized crowd based on the camera ‘experience’ he had put together.
A home-made camera in Havana, CubaHis camera contraption was an ancient bellows camera placed within a box. The text on the side is Italian and reads, “The openness that comes from faith…” A home-made camera in Havana, CubaHe took our picture and then actually developed the negative image doing some tricky manipulations inside the camera box. Here he is squinting through red glass to see what he’s doing. A home-made camera in Havana, CubaThe result was this ‘negative’ showing us sitting on a set of stairs.The photo negative from the home-made camera in Havana, CubaHe took that negative, folded it in half and set it up in front of a photo of the Capitolo building. So here is the final image of us sitting on some stairs in front of the Capitolo.The photo positive from the home-made camera in Havana, CubaHe wasn’t the only photographer out there. Here is another with his version of a home-made camera. This one shows the protruding platform where the negative image was placed. A home-made camera in Havana, CubaSo back to my first photography course where I was coveting the other student’s cameras, and finally found a second-hand Pentax I could afford for my second-year photography course…

To be continued….

21 responses to “A Photographic Journey, 1972

  1. This was a fun post – your journey and also – the home made cameras in Cuba
    – and side note – I have not made a post for this week’s them yet – but my hubs bought me an expensive camera back in the 1990s – it was so complicated and I had way too much n my plate – and well, dropped it one day and dinged it up – still worked fine – and then ended up donating it to a high school student (she also baby sat for us sometimes) and she used it for her high school course.
    thanks for reminding me of that
    and love the steps photo

  2. Absolutely wonderful! And you have those photos still…and what wonder of a home made camera! Thank you for sharing this incredible gem of a story.

  3. Wow Elizabeth – that was quite a camera! And a built-in tripod no less – no wonder your teacher loved it. Your photography is always wonderful so clearly you’ve mastered the technology which adds to your practiced eye. Loved the story as well as the home-made camera examples. Terrific

    • I think I still have it. We downsized a few years ago which is when I photographed everything. The camera was small enough so it’s probably somewhere! It seems that a lot of things I owned were vintage, or antiques or collector’s items – that’s what happens when you never throw anything away!

  4. Fascinating! I have a couple of antique cameras that look similar. They were my late husband’s grandfather’s. But I’ve never tried to find appropriate film and use them. I am solidly in the digital photography age these days. I enjoyed seeing the images from your story.

    • Ha, ha. Just after I saw your comment I was indulging in a coffee break, and reading a book where this little bit of conversation jumped out at me, “Of course I remember them, but I suspect they are all in museums now, as perhaps I should be.”

    • I wonder if they’re still doing it? This was in 2004 before digital took off, and these ‘instant’ photos were a huge hit. On the other hand they’re very talented at keeping cars from the 50s in useable shape so why not cameras?

  5. Pingback: A Photographic Journey, 1973-1979 | Albatz Travel Adventures·

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