Monday, May 14, 2012

Old stuff...

Here is an interesting bit of news.  An early prototype Leica just fetched 2.16MILLION Euros at a recent auction.  That's a far amount of money for something that used 35mm movie film stock.

I suppose I'm not sure how I feel about that amount of money changing hands for a prototype instrument.

Pitcher ~ tin type

 Vintage image?  Or not?  And does it matter which it is?

On the one hand, it could be viewed as an interesting bit of history.  If so, then it should be put in a museum somewhere.  On the other, it makes me wonder why anyone would feel this particularly instrument would be worth that kind of money.

The BBC article notes that "The prices such cameras fetch show the growing interest in early photographic materials."

If this were true, then why these small format cameras and not some of the potentially fascinating equipment from the mid-1800's?  After all, there was an incredible explosion of engineering creativity at the birth of photography.

Montmartre Cemetery

What was used to make this image? Does it matter?

I think of Petzval formula large format lenses.  They were mathematically designed to render out of focus areas of an image in very specific ways.  Few equivalents exist for small format cameras today.  And the lenses which do similar things to the Petzval likely achieve the effects quite by accident, not by design.

That is just a simple single example of something I feel could have incredible value at auction.  If only people understood what went into the making of very early photographic instrumentation.

Then I think about tools of creative expression.  Would this kind of money change hands if it were, say, one of Matisse's paint brushes or a have used glob of Rembrandt's paint?

I suppose the dictum is true: How we spend our money is a direct reflection of our values.

What is valuable in this?  This exercise is left to the reader to sort it out.


Jacques said...

I miss the look of pictures produced by these early 35 mm cameras. My first camera which I bought with my own money at the age of 17 (1956) was a Japanese copy of a Leica. I wish I had kept it. But I still have the battery-less light meter that I bought around the same time.

Christopher Perez said...

There is just "something" about old film photography, isn't there?

I find it humorous when I try to simulate film effects using digital techniques.