I must admit, I have a problem when it comes to looking at old camera equipment.
I just love the aesthetics of the old equipment, from the shape, to the weight, the mechanisms to even the smell. Gross I know. :)
The greatest thing about resurrecting one of these relics is that it brings forth such a meaning to the image itself. Not to mention that the imagery created with a lot of these old cameras can be astonishing. Theirs 3 main things when I look at an old camera on whether or not it's a consideration for use in the field.
1. Does the shutter open and close in response to changing the settings?
2. Are their any holes / gaps where light may leak?
3. Is there any mold or corrosion on the lens or camera body?
Now not all of these things don't necessary lead me to not want to take the old camera home, stick it on a shelf and look at it for aesthetic appeal. However I do try to find cameras that will actually function outside a dust collecting paper weight.
For when you create something physical (an actual print) you can hold and share to me something different occurs to viewer as if they were to view it on the computer. This will be hard to explain, since the example I am going to show you will be on a computer.... But everyone knows the saying... It's better in person. Or, photos don't do it justice. This to me is one of the things film transcends even the greatest digital photo.
Take this photo I found at Crazy Franks Flea Market in Mineral Point, WI.
For the purpose of viewing this dark image of a Native America Indian I scanned the image twice to pull more detail for digital viewing purposes. In person you can see the detail with close inspection and the right light.
Not only do I greatly appreciate the subject, the medium and the exposure I also highly wonder about the photographer. Where this glass image has traveled & how much care someone had to protect this image. So many questions of imagination and possibilities arise when hold and looking at this piece of glass.
The location looks cold, rugged and in mountainous region with tall conifer type trees. The size of the mountains and trees seems to lead me to believe the location is a western side side of the United States. I am looking into sending the image to a few experts to see if they can identify the pattern of the rug that the Native American has draped over his legs or the geography of the mountains.
Another curios observation to me is that the subject has his eyes closed as if he passively mediating while being told to stand still for a portrait. Making me wonder his standing with in his tribe and what sort of action he is carrying out with his version of a horse trailer.