Here I describe my cameras and discuss some brands and models in particular. These cameras are pieces of the history of photography, but I still use some of them frequently. Old cameras are fascinating objects that tell us interesting stories and exemplify the technical and technological development of photography. My emphasis is on cameras from the beginning of the 20th century until World War 2. I do not intend to collect randomly without purpose, or to even try to build a representative collection of the period. Instead I focus on specific camera types and models, and I construct the collection over the lines of evolution of such models.
Having a background and being active in scientific research I cannot escape having a methodological attitude towards collecting (although acquisition is often opportunistic rather than planned!). I thus tend to be attracted to models and evolutionary lines where knowledge gaps are evident. I then pursue methodically (or try to...) these gaps by searching for missing links and analysing representative samples of cameras. Camera types typically appeared as booms that represented circumstantial markets' pressure. The dead ends and deviations from mainstream are often the most interesting. As any collector knows, the rare and most sought after cameras are usually those that proved unsuccessful, thus being made in low numbers for brief periods. The best cameras where produced in high numbers and usually have nowadays a lower market value.
TLRs are one of my main current interests, and in particularly the Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords of Franke & Heidecke, with clear emphasis on early models and their development. But other good TLRs also interest me, such as those from Zeiss-Ikon, Mentor, Foth, KW, Welta or Tokyo Kogaku, just to name a few.
Other current interests are vest pocket cameras, either using 127 rollfilm (4x6.5, 3x4 or 4x4) or plates (4.5x6), and strut folding cameras that were the typical press cameras of the beginning of the 20st century.
I am a member of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain (PCCGB), one of the best crowds of collectors out there. Enter via the link below to see the site, and if you are into camera collecting consider joining - it is opened to everyone in the world. You will get the Photographica World magazine and a directory of many members interested in numerous specialities of photographica, besides access to many events and activities and sources of information.
Link here to PCCGB website
My articles at Photographica World:
Paula, J. (2016) Revisiting the birth of the Rolleiflex.
Photographica World 154 (2016/3): 32-39
Paula, J. (2017) The legendary Rolleiflex Standard.
Photographica World 156 (2017/2): 36-47
Paula, J. (2018) On the track of the Rolleiflex 4x4 Original. Photographica World 158 (2018/1): 41-51
Paula, J. (2018) The unusual Foth Flex TLR from Foth & Co. Photographica World 159 (2018/2): 6-19
I am also a collaborator of the Collection Appareils (France), a fantastic photographica website moderated by Sylvain Halgand. I am also a member of the Société des amis du site et du forum. It is the best internet registry of cameras (over 12,000 and growing!). By being member you can help expanding the site and include your cameras in the database. The forum of the site is also a fantastic platform for exchange information and opinions among the collectors' community, very well structured. In French mainly.
Link here to Collection Appareils website