Art, History and Life

#65 Find Art for Over the Fireplace

This Mighty Life List is powerful because I really want to cross things off the list! Last month I talked about my friend Doug Birkenheuer and his amazing photography. I asked him if I could commission him to take a photo of my vintage cameras because I wanted something for over my fireplace mantel. At first he tried to tell me that he only did portraits, which as you can tell by the photos on his website he does freaking fabulous portraits. I may have ignored his protest and dumped my cameras in his lap. 
But first let me tell you about my cameras. Years ago I bought a Kodak Duaflex camera for $10 from a giant antique mall outside Madison, Wisconsin. While carrying my Duaflex around Portobello road I stumbled across a beautiful camera, the Ilford Craftsman. It was sitting in a jumbled pile of cameras and I walked away. Then I had to go back and get it because it was just sitting there at the back of my mind whispering. It cost 35 pounds and I had to borrow 5 pounds from CW (which I paid back!) to get it. Then while I was wandering around etsy I stumbled across an Ensign Ful Vue, another British made camera, and I just fell in love. 

The Duaflex is a temperamental little beast. In rain or gray light it does not seem to focus and there are streaks of darkness across the picture.The two phots below were taken by my Duaflex. The first is the laundry hanging in Cora and CW's back yard at their old flat in St. Albans just outside of London. 
Below is St. Pancras train station in London.

The Ilford on the other hand takes sharp pictures. It is very rare that it blurs a picture (except for a couple I took in London on a windy day). On a sunny day the pictures are very crisp and clean.
Sometimes though they are just a bit too crisp and I find myself missing the Duaflex. I just realized I still need to develop the film from pictures I took using the Ful Vue! I love taking photos with these cameras because you never know what they are going to capture. Plus people are always intrigued by them and they are a great conversation starter, especially when I am traveling.
Now let's take a leap forward about 75 years and my sweet cameras are made into art. Doug had a photo shoot with my cameras and the Ilford is the star. It is a bit larger then life. You really have to come and see it because my photos do not do it justice. When Dan and Doug delivered the print (it barely fit in Dan's mini!) they made me go in the other room, put it in place and then called me in to the room. What I said is not fit to print because I was freaking gobsmacked. Thank you Doug for such a unique piece of art. I will treasure it always. 

Photo Credit Doug Birkenheuer

Originally Published 3/13/13 *Edited 3/16/13

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