Friday, September 7, 2012

What's old is new again...

A couple of months ago, my wife Monika presented me with a gift. It was one of those sweet "just because" gifts.
It was a 1950 Tower 120 medium format film camera. Manufactured for Sears and Roebuck, it is a very simple, very basic "box" camera. It's design is elegant in it's simplicity and I was thrilled to receive it. I cleaned it up and gave it the once over straight away. I was especially excited to shoot with it because it features a 110mm fixed lens and being a box camera and not an SLR or TLR, looking through the primitive viewfinder offered what I imagined would be only an approximation of what the lens would capture...

Downtown Los Angeles 8-2012 ©Mike Vega

Unfortunately, I was all out of medium format film and it would be a few weeks until I had the opportunity to buy some (I try not to pay for shipping on things like film when possible, this hobby is pricy enough as it is!). 
As it turned out, Monika and I were lucky enough to have a relatively "free" day (no derby bouts) and we took the time to head up to Los Angeles to purchase some film (okay, a LOT of film...) and spend the day shooting around downtown and enjoying the eateries and shops.

The cooolest Ducks in town. @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA. 8-2012 ©Mike Vega

Based on the internals of the Tower, I was initially under the impression that this camera would produce a square negative, but was puzzled by the vertical rectangular viewfinder... As it would be revealed when the film was developed, it in fact produces HUGE rectangular negatives!

The Rosslyn Hotel. Skid Row, Los Angeles, CA. 8-2012 ©Mike Vega
As this first roll was a "test" roll, I took a lot of chances with my exposures and composition, and was more than pleasantly surprised at how well the little box camera performed (even during a hand held long exposure using a slow film in low light as pictured above).

Ponies. Mira Loma, CA. 9-2012 ©Mike Vega

Every now and then, you come across something that simply and strangely "fits" the way that you, as an individual, do things. Sometimes it is something like a tool, or a motorcycle, or in this case a "new" vintage camera. I have been lucky in this way most of my life. To find things to integrate into what I do that allow me to do them more naturally and closer to what I imagine them to be. 
Thank you to Monika for introducing me to this gem, which is sure to have a regular spot in my ever cramped camera case.


1 comment:

  1. I'm happy you like it. Your "test roll" turned out amazing!