Friday, February 26, 2010

March Program - Dr. Rebecca Senf

Our speaker for March is Becky Senf who is a curator at the Center for Creative Photography. She will be speaking about the real Ansel Adams. Becky has studied Ansel Adams and his photography extensively so you know her program will be interesting.
Dr. Rebecca Senf is the Norton Family Curator of Photography, a joint appointment at the Center for Creative Photography and the Phoenix Art Museum. She curates three exhibitions a year for the Doris and John Norton Gallery for the Center for Creative Photography in Phoenix and her past exhibitions include Debating Modern Photography: the Triumph of Group f/64; Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence; Human Nature: the Photographs of Barbara Bosworth; Edward Weston: Mexico; Odyssey: the Photographs of Linda Connor; Charting the Canyon: Photographs by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe; and Face to Face: 150 Years of Photographic Portraiture. Senf grew up in Tucson and went to undergraduate school at the University of Arizona, studying the History of Photography. She spent ten years in Boston, Massachusetts where she earned a Ph.D. in Art History at Boston University. In Boston she worked on the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s major exhibition Ansel Adams from The Lane Collection, for which she also co-authored the exhibition catalogue. Her current exhibition on view at the Phoenix Art Museum is Ansel Adams: Discoveries (Jan. 31, 2010 to June 6, 2010). Upcoming projects include Exposing Time: Capturing Change Through Photography (March 6-June 27, 1010) and Louise Dahl-Wolfe: Photographer at Work (2012). Click Here to Read More!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jerry Day - Toy Cameras

The speaker for our February meeting was Jerry Day, a long time photographer and collector of specialty cameras. Members were immediately impressed by the array of colors on the four tables of Jerry’s display. He had toys that look like cameras and cameras that look like toys as well as a display of novelty photographic items. Jerry showed and told us about some of the “prize” cameras including those made for world fairs, Mickey Mouse (pictured), Charlie Tuna, and Santa Claus. He has cameras made for Barbie and Ken, too. Jerry has a kid’s enthusiasm for the toys and stole the show when he put one camera up to his eye and pressed the button. The camera produced a stream of water which reached Joseph Pocholczyk who was sitting on the front row. Joseph took the situation with good nature and the audience got a good laugh.
Another interesting part of his presentation was his progression as a photographer and collector. He had a copy of the folding Brownie that he started with as a young student. When he was in Korea in the military, he dreamed of owning a Nikon. Unfortunately, only one of this model came to the PX each month and he never won the lottery to purchase same. He did get a less desirable Olympus which he used to record some of his time in Korea. Later, back in the US, he got his degree and went to work for the Game and Fish Department where he did a great deal of recording using photographs. Especially since he retired, he has enjoyed scouring local yard sales for these specialty cameras.
Thanks, Jerry, for sharing your great collection and your enthusiasm for it!
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

World's First Commercially Produced Camera to Bring $1,000,000 at Auction

The Giroux Daguerreotype is described as a very rare model of the world’s first commercially produced camera. The camera was designed and produced in Paris in 1839 by Daguerre's brother-in-law, Alphonse Giroux. Approximately 250 were produced and sold at $50 each. The camera today, after calculating inflation, would cost approximately $1000. It is one of the only cameras by Daguerre that still exists and is described as being in excellent original condition. There are only a few of these cameras that exist worldwide and most of them are in the possession of public museums.
On May 29th the camera is expected to be auctioned in Vienna. The starting price of the auction will be 200,000 Euros. The WestLicht Photographica auction house is in charge of selling the camera and expects the camera to go for as much as 700,000 Euros ($950,000 US).
The camera has a double box body and the photographer can focus by pulling the smaller box away from the 15inch lens. To bring the camera into focus, the rear box must be moved forwards or backwards along the wooden camera base. Image exposure time is quite long and can take up to three minutes depending on how well lit the image is. Images produces by the Giroux Daguerreotype are finely detailed and practically grain less. The images should also be very durable when framed in a way that excludes air. The cameras are highly sought after as a coveted collectors item.
There is also a 24-page instruction manual that comes with the camera, but the user must be able to translate German to understand the manual.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Graflex 4x5 Super Graphic and Super Speed Graphic

by William E. Inman, Sr.

Graflex introduced the 4x5 Super Graphic in February 1958. It was heralded by Graflex as “the greatest advance in press cameras in years, and is sure to catch the imagination of every advanced amateur and professional photographer. The Super Graphic is new in every way...completely new design and appearance …. new features for greater-than-ever versatility.

The Super Graphic is smaller than its predecessor, the famous Pacemaker Speed Graphic. It's styled in two-tone gray and black with aluminum trim.” A modern dream camera in every way. We need to back up to 1956, when the president of Graflex, Inc., Gaylord C. Whitaker, enlisted the services of industrial design consultant Peter Muller-Munk, who, along with the Graflex engineering staff, began the redesign of the 4x5 Graphic camera. Drawing heavily on Graflex research, they checked “human engineering” all the way from typical handholds to the mechanics of the shutter tripping. To give this camera the strength of the mahogany box of the Pacemaker, they chose an aluminum body for strength as well as lightweight properties. They went to Alcoa Aluminum for production parts, while assembly of the camera took place at the Graflex plant in Rochester, New York.

Human Engineering Features:
The Super Graphic is designed for convenience in handling. All locks and releases are readily accessible for adjustments and are large enough and properly shaped for foolproof operation.  The front lens standard swings, tilts and shifts have “click-stop” neutral positions.  The electronic shutter and flash tripping button can be used without changing hand position. The automatic focusing scale is on top of the camera for ease of
reading. All the flash shutter connections are internally wired to minimize dangling cords and prevent misfires from partially disconnected plugs.  A removable long optical viewfinder is supplied as an accessory.

Construction Features:
For maximum strength, resilience, precision, production cost savings and minimum weight, the Super Graphic uses an extruded strip bent to shape, and butt welded at the bottom joint. Integral beads on the edges add rigidity and serve as trim strips for the leather-grained covering. For parts requiring light absorption, black
anodizing replaces paint, which ends chipping and scratching.  Other precision parts are die-cast aluminum or magnesium to further minimize weight.

New Features:

1. Automatic flash setting calculator operates as part of the focusing scale on the top of the camera for determining the correct f stop.
2. Horizontal swing and forward tilt movements of the lensboard are standard, along with rising, shifting, and backward tilting movements.  The horizontal shift is usable even with short lenses.
3. A spring loaded focusing track was added for stability. An improved yoke is now “V” guide, running entire length of each side of the bed.
4. A revolving back that locks in the horizontal or vertical position. The rotation works in either direction accommodating a left-handed user, if necessary.
5. A removable focusing hood for quiet, one-handed operation was added.
6. A dark slide holding clip, on the focusing hood, runs the full length on the back of the hood and is made of “phosphorus bronze.”
7. Larger, easier-to-handle rangefinder cams and a simplified mechanism for easiest changing of cams was added.
8. Rangefinder focusing from 90mm wide-angle lenses to telephoto lenses is standard.
9. Interchangeable, internally wired, lensboard assemblies for either flashbulbs or electronic flash provide connection through the camera body.
10. A double cam action slide lock on the Graflok back provides positive positioning of the Grafmatic, Film Pack, Roll Holder and Polaroid film holders.
11. A built-in electrical socket on the lower right side accepts a polarized three-prong pin cord for the Graflite and the Stroboflash, providing internal shutter synchronization and eliminates cords dangling from the shutter.

12. A Presslock Tripod Mount accessory for instant and solid attachment or removal of the camera when fitted to a tripod.

13. A new type bed lock arrangement, rotation of either focusing knob, locks or unlocks the bed, which eliminates accidental releasing.
14. The Super has a high-precision builtin rangefinder. The rangefinder cam operates the focusing scale indicator on the stop of the camera, so that the scale always matches the lens used. Shown below is the Pacemaker rangefinder, which is the same system used in the Super Graphic, with a few changes.
15. An electronic shutter and flash tripping release button are located conveniently for left -hand operation. The BC circuit is powered by two 22.5-volt Eveready batteries (number 412) for tripping the solenoid in the base of the front lens standard.
The same circuit can also be tripped from the Graflite two-cell flash unit red button with the addition of the Y cord (Catalog number 2808) for flash bulb firing.
When introduced in 1958, the Super “outfit” sold for $416, while the 4x5 Pacemaker Crown Graphic outfit with the same shutter sold for $340. The Super Graphic remained in the Graflex line through 1973,
when camera sales were discontinued. In that year, the Super outfit sold for $641 and a 4x5 Pacemaker Crown outfit for $543. 
The 4x5 Super Speed Graphic
The Super Speed Graphic was introduced in 1959 and last sold in 1969, when Graflex stopped production of the Graflex 1000 shutter.  The only difference between the Super Graphic and the Super Speed Graphic was the introduction of the Graflex 1/1000 leaf shutter. The bodies are the same.  Up to that time, the fastest leaf shutter was 1/500. The Graflex 1/1000 shutter was a revolutionary design. For further information, see my article in the GHQ Volume 5, Number 1, titled “The Dream Shutter.”

If your camera needs to be repaired, I highly recommend Fred Lustig.  Mr. Lustig has provided quality Graflex service for many years and has a good supply of parts for the 1000 shutter and the Super Graphic.
He can be reached by mail at 4790 Caughlin Parkway, No. 433, Reno, NV 89509, or by phone at (775) 746-0111.

Graflex Trade Notes, February 1958.
Graflex Super Graphic/Super Speed Graphic Instruction Manual.
Alcoa Aluminum Newsletter, October 1959, Peter Muller-Munk Association publication.

Special thanks to Mr. William E. Inman, Sr. and the Graflex Historic Quarterly for their kind permission to reprint this outstanding and informative article.
Click Here to Read More!