Stuff I Use.

I didn’t start collecting cameras until about age 26. When I was younger, I wanted a K-1000 desperately. It was the camera I used in Photography Club in school: a clunky beast that had a sorta-working light mater and a bunch of lenses.

The first camera I ever bought at a flea market was, I believe, a 1920s Brownie box camera. After that, my collection grew steadily. At first, it was more box cameras, but I moved on to other types…ones I could actually use. Today I have about 40 antique and vintage cameras, ranging from a 1904 Brownie to a spy camera the size of a pack of cigarettes, to Land Cameras and many incarnations of the Diana. I still shoot with them. I like to channel my camera-happy ancestors and see if I can get similar results. Many of my cameras are displayed on a shelf my Grandpop Fell made years ago. I think he’d have approved.

I also have a collection of hundreds of vintage and antique photos. They’re easier to collect, both price-wise and space-wise. I also find them very inspirational. Some of them have been incorporated into my artwork…I never destroy originals, I like to scan them so I’m not defacing historical stuff. It drives me nuts when erstwhile collage artists wreck up cabinet cards. I pay attention to how people lit photos, the processes they used, and I like to see if I can duplicate that in my own work. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Having a collection of things related to the things you do challenges your perspective, I often find.