“There is currently a resurgence of interest in classic cameras, especially in cameras from the end of the film era, before digital really took hold,” says photographer, camera collector and writer John Wade.
Wade is also author of a new book, The Ingenious Victorians (see box for more details).
“A whole new generation of photographers is buying this type of camera for use with the collecting market, comprising people who buy for historic interest rather than shooting pictures, remaining steady, but maybe not quite as big as it was, say, five years ago.”
To find some of those early classic cameras, try Photographica, the annual camera collectors’ and users’ fair organised by the Photographic Collectors’ Club of Great Britain. This takes place on Sunday, May 21, at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London, with 135 stalls selling thousands of users and retro cameras, from wood to brass, modern classics to early digital, plus lenses, film and paper.
Bellow it out
In 1925 Kodak launched a small camera called the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B, which followed the then popular style of having a bed that folded out from the body along which the lens was pulled out on bellows.
The next year it was followed by the Series III version, which was technically a little more sophisticated. Both models were made in black.
“There is currently a resurgence of interest in classic cameras
The man behind many of the most successful Kodak designs was Walter Dorwin Teague. He was an industrial designer, architect, illustrator, graphic designer and entrepreneur who, in 1927, was hired by the Eastman Kodak Company to take a new look at some of its already popular models. Teague took the Series III in a new direction.
Out went boring black and in came five colours for bodies and bellows called Bluebird (deep blue), Cockatoo (green), Seagull (grey), Redbreast (red), and Jenny Wren (brown).