Have an old Polaroid camera lying around collecting dust? Did you know that you can use it for wet plate collodion photography? AlternativePhotography writes,
Most collodion photographers are using dedicated wet plate cameras, because wet plates are not nice to put into any ordinary modern cameras. There are instructions on how to use some normal medium and large format film cameras in the wet plate process. Most modern large format cameras are readily usable; only a special wet plate holder is needed. The drawback is the silver nitrate, possibly dripping from the holder inside the camera and eventually ruining it.
There are, however, certain types of cameras that you can use as is, without any modifications. Polaroid 100 – 400 series cameras were designed for Polaroid instant pack film, and the empty film holder can be converted to an excellent wet plate holder.
Once your film holder is modified to hold wet plates, you’ll also need to give the camera a makeshift “bulb mode” by covering its ‘Electric Eye’ light meter with black tape. The tutorial also discusses how you can expose wet plates using an enlarger and/or digitally printed film.
Wet plate collodion with a Polaroid camera [AlternativePhotography via Pixel Análogo]
Image credits: Photographs by Jalo Porkkala/AlternativePhotography
Fujifilm is a camera company that’s going all-in on the idea of “retro design”. We’re not complaining. Its new XF1 compact camera brings the sleek design of X-Series’ cameras to the world of “point-and-shoots”, featuring a minimalist aluminum body that’s covered with faux-leather. The camera feels very nice and solid in the hand. It’s not as compact as other point-and-shoots (the Canon S110 is around 30% smaller and 20% lighter), so I’d say it’s purse-sized rather than pocket-sized. What it lacks in portability, however, it makes up for in beauty and brawn.
If you want a 50mm f/1.4 lens for your DSLR, you’ll need to shell out at least a couple hundred bucks, even if you buy one made by a third-party manufacturer. For those of you who don’t mind losing autofocus, you can get the same focal lengths and apertures for much cheaper by buying some old glass and an adapter. By much cheaper, we mean as low as $10-$20! India-based photographer Brock Whittaker recently did this after seeing an auction on eBay for an old Mamiya camera kit.
Daré alla Lucé is a project by photographer Amy Friend that features old photos that resemble constellations in the night sky. Friend creates the images by finding vintage photographs (online or in shops) and then poking tiny holes into them. My Modern Met writes,
The series began through her desire to see the photograph as an object. Friend wanted to find out what it meant for them to change, “to become something different than what they were originally intended to be” yet still remain the same. To her, the images represented “a life, a face, a moment, but only through a momentary glance.” By altering them she hopes to playfully bring to light stories beneath the surface or what she refers to as “the unknown.”
“It is the unknown that shines through the photographs. It is the unknown that releases the photographs and allows them to become something new.”
Earlier this year, a set of mugshots from the 1920s showing Australian criminals made the rounds on the Internet. When art director Michael Jason Enriquez came across this portraits, he was struck by the artsy-ness of the photos. He writes,
There’s a strange connection that draws us into vintage photographs. Seeing doppelgängers (look-a-likes) in old pictures is our brain’s way of linking us to the past. We see what isn’t there – someone recognizable, a family member, maybe a friend, and then there are the ones that bear an uncanny resemblance to modern day celebrities. We’re so used to seeing celebrity faces on our tv, on blogs, and we even know what their mugshots look like. The tacky looking mugshots we have today are in stark contrast to the mugshots taken in the 1920’s. Vintage mugshots have an eerie beauty to them that’s lost in current mugshot photography. What would celebrity mugshots, the ones we’ve become accustomed to seeing on TMZ, look like if instead they were taken in the 1920’s?
Enriquez decided to find out, and created Mugshot Doppleganger, a website to which he posts Photoshopped images of celebrity booking portraits fused with 1920s mugshots.
How’s this for a strange camera accessory: the Paparazzo Light is a lighting attachment for iPhones that mimics the look of vintage press camera flashes (yes, the kind the original Lightsaber was made from). The light comes from a 300 Lumen LED that’s powered by two dedicated CR 123 batteries, and three modes offer different brightness settings for photos and videos.
The Dirkon pinhole 35mm camera is made entirely from paper cut from a template by designers Martin Pilný, Mirek Kolář and Richard Vyškovský. The three published the template in a 1979 issue of Czechoslovakian magazine ABC mladých techniků a přírodovědců (translated as An ABC of Young Technicians and Natural Scientists). While original prints of the magazine are rare, the Dirkon gained cult popularity in Chzechoslovakia.
Tired of your boring Nikon point and shoot? Does the sleek modern silver clash with your vintage threads? Breathe easy: German company PimpmyDigicam offers these sticker “leather kits” for Nikon J1 cameras for a retro look that will pair impeccably with your vintage Oxfords.
Beauty may be only skin deep for us humans, but crack open a classic rangefinder and there something both nostalgic and beautiful about the components therein. The people behind Ilott Vintage — a Miami-based camera restoration project — know this, and so when they’re restoring an old Minolta Hi-Matic 7 or Olympus 35RD, they sometimes take the time to make a little video showing off the craftsmanship and components we don’t always get to see.
Getting your hands on one of these restored masterpieces will cost you a pretty penny (think a couple thousand), but the classic camera you get will be more than just a collectors item, it’ll actually work. Head over to their website for more info on the company and a look at their selection, or check out their Vimeo page for more classic camera eye candy.
Foto Marvellini, an art workshop based in Milan, came up with the interesting idea of collecting vintage portraits and transforming them into photos showing the ancestors of Marvel superheroes. Eventually the project, began including characters from DC Comics and Japanese anime as well.