This picture covers a relatively mind-boggling span of the history of camera technology, and deserves a bit of deconstruction. It shows, of course, a smartphone, resting on the beautiful new "Non-Use Device," acquired for decor in the recently completed TOP Headquarters atrium, a.k.a. the old table just inside the front door of my little house.
The Non-Use Device*, which turns out to be exceptionally beautiful and exceedingly well preserved, was built c. 1903–06 in Rochester, New York, not far from my new environs. The largest of the Pony Premo cameras of the era, the No. 6 also was a whole-plate (6.5x8.5-inch) size camera of a type called "self-casing." It folds into a neat little leather-covered box with a handle, like a small valise.
The smartphone, of course, is an iPhone, currently the most-used type of camera on Facebook, which in turn is the largest collection of publicly-accessible photographs in the history of the medium.
That's not quite all. Do you remember earlier this month when I wrote about "Mr. D.," the Illinois high-school photo teacher who came by HQ 2.0 in Wisconsin to pick up my once-prized SaltHill print washer? You might remember Jeff came by sporting a very cool axe, his Horseman Multiformat 985. I took a snap of Jeff using my phone, and he took one back using his Horseman.
So the picture being displayed on the iPhone in the above picture is his picture of me...which he took on B&W film and sent to me by email.
So in the top picture we have a medium-format film picture emailed to a smartphone which is itself a camera of sorts, and a turn-of-the-last-century "portable" view camera.
I dunno, it just seemed kinda around-and-about to me, weaving this way and that through the dense thicket of the history of image tech.
* The name derives from the Single-Use Device, a whole plate Chamonix view camera I once argued was good for only one thing—black-and-white contact prints.
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Featured Comments from:
John Willard: "And what did you use to take that picture? And then post on the web...this is almost like a room with mirrored walls where you see an infinite number of your reflection."
Mike replies: Right, taken with my Fuji X-T1, a digital camera designed to be "retro" and reminiscent of older film SLRs....