Monday, February 28, 2011

Vintage Photography

I love all things vintage! I mean what's not to love? I especially LOVE and collect vintage aprons! I feel soo "June Cleaver" when I wear one! ;)

Anyway, I was in an antique shop a couple years ago when I came across this box! Since I am such a lover of photography, I just knew I had to have it! Plus the $5.00 price tag made my decision easy!
What drew me to this camera was how unusual it looked with it's weird dials, and just how solid it was. I have started a collection of old cameras, so I really didn't plan on doing anything with it except to keep it. I did want to create a cool camera robot out of it...but now that it works that is out of the question! 

Anyway, for the last couple of years I had pushed the camera aside! When I came across the box a few months ago, my husband and I looked more closely at it. We couldn't figure out where the viewfinder was. Or the button to actually take the photo! lol

 Just the other day when I actually researched the camera I realized that the viewfinder stands on top of the camera. It's a pop-out viewfinder. See the photo below...that's where the viewfinder would be if it had one. Besides a missing viewfinder, it is in very good condition!
 So I began to research the camera. I found out that it is a Kodak 35 camera from the year 1938! I was soo excited! I never imagined it to be this old! It was Kodak's first 35mm camera! When I found that out I was super excited, because 35mm film is easy to find and inexpensive!

In 1938 the cost of this camera was $40 which converts to a price of what would now be $609 according to data from the year 2009.

But I had no manual! Luckily, I came across an old one that someone had uploaded! I ran upstairs and grabbed a roll of 35mm film that I had leftover from the days before I went digital, and I began to experiment with it! Unfortunately, I snapped/broke two rolls of film before I figured out how to load and unload it properly!
I love how sleek and wonderful the metal is! On the left you can see the "rewind button", and on the right is the "exposure dial" that shows you how many photos you have left on the roll! And next to the exposure dial is the "wind button"...yes you have to manually operate this camera! lol Did they even have batteries in 1938? Eventhough I know it's manual...I still look for it to operate with batteries for some reason! lol I just cannot imagine or comprehend how it works without batteries! lol
Also under close inspection of the camera...we didn't know where the "exposure button" was to take the photo! After reading the manual you have to push down the screw/lever on the side of the lense. I added the arrow to show you exactly where the button/lever is. According to the manual you press down the lever and "take a breath" and release it! I can't wait to play around with this button and hold it down for more than a breath just to see how much light gets added to the finished photo!
 I love the little plate on top of the lense that is written in a cursive font that says: "Made in the USA!" It's hard to find a good quality product anymore that is actually made in the USA!
You can't tell visually by looking at the camera in person, but I realized from the photo below that the lense is very dusty! I guess I am going to have to clean it now that I know that it works!
So today I tried roll number 3 and successfully managed to load and unload the roll of film without breaking it! I was soo excited with the possibility of it actually working that I didn't read the manual correctly the first couple of times! Now that I have learned how to properly load and unload the film...I cannot wait to experiment!

The photos are a little blurry, but I love how it adds to that vintage photo effect! That is another downside to the way this camera is made. Without a viewfinder to look through that is inside the camera, there is no way to see if your image will turn out blurry. Along the lense is a dial that has a distance you can adjust, by how many feet you are standing away from the object. I think it starts with four feet and goes up to about twenty feet and then to "infinity" or something like that. I'll need to play around with it more and keep a notebook until I learn how to correctly take an image. I am just soo happy that it is actually a functioning camera! I have never been soo excited over blurry photos before until today! :)

I processed them at a 1-hour lab and looked at them several times on the way home! I was that excited!

Like I said I was so excited with just wanting the camera to work that I just took random photos from my backyard...nothing really planned out. Since there is no flash on the camera, it'll probably work best on bright and sunny days. Today it was rainy and an overcast. I took some photos in the house, they turned out, but were too dark.
Like I said, I randomly took photos, not thinking that anything would actually turn out! lol For example why on earth would I take a photo of the faucet outside?! lol
Or the camper! lol
All of these photos were straight from the camera. I did not photoshop any of them except the black and white one below! I love how the black and white one turned really gives it a vintage feel!
I also love and collect old vintage photographs that I have displayed around my home. I'll have to share those with you sometime soon as well! But with a camera from 1938, it makes me wonder...what photos has this camera taken. Who owned it? And did they love photography as much as I do?


just jane said...

Wonderful, Ruth. I am so glad I stayed up for this. I am also glad you found something cool to do on this stormy day. Vintage, yes but classic, all the same!

Kristin - The Goat said...

Oh, I'd totally take a photo of the outdoor spigot!! It has the perfect vintage feel. I'm so excited for you. You are going to have a blast learning about a new craft - Photography Old School!

Rachel H said...

Hi there,

I ran across this post while researching the 1938 Kodak 35mm camera. I just procured one, and was hoping to find a manual. Could I ask where you found yours?

Thank you so much!