Old techniques on show

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

Taking a glance down photography’s memory lane, the Ace Camera Club of Albany is showing the community the wonderful world of pinhole and vintage film cameras with its new exhibition Traditional Photography Revisited.

Opening last Monday, the collection is an example of what can be achieved using very basic photographic technology — even bewildering visitors with a camera made from a large potato.

Club president Bob Symons said it was important the current generations did not forget where photography came from.

“As with any craft, there are those in the older age group who have a wealth of knowledge and experience and are acutely aware of the need to preserve traditional skills and processes for the future,” he said.

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“Fortunately, film isn’t dying as predicted, but fills a niche where it remains as an important alternative to those who want to enjoy adding a point of difference to their work.”

Fortunately for the club, it received a significant donation of processing and printing equipment without which it would not have been able to carry out such an undertaking.

“Our cameras are either home-made or have been manufactured anything up to 100-plus years ago,” Mr Symons said.

“Much of the film and photographic paper we use has passed its expiry date but that’s not an issue with this type of gear.

“Taking a photograph can take up to 20 minutes per shot so it’s a good way to chill out and just enjoy the process.”

Some of the cameras used involved include a Lancaster ¼ plate from the 1860s, an Agfa Billy from the 1950s, a 1920s Kodak Model B view camera, a cardboard pinhole camera, a 1926 Kodak Brownie folder, a drainpipe pinhole camera and an Olympus OM-1.

Mr Symons said six of the 31 club members had taken part in the exhibition and regarded the exhibition as a team effort.

“This exhibition is the result of our members taking up the challenge of producing acceptable photographs using homemade and vintage cameras,” he said.

“There’s a great deal of satisfaction from building your own camera, processing your negatives and making your prints, either in the darkroom or modern inkjet printer.”

The Ace Camera Club is made up of retired industry professionals through to those who have only relatively recently tried their hand at film photography.

“Some of the processes are from the dawn of photography and have been made, using the authentic processes or developed in coffee,” Mr Symons said.

Traditional Photography Revisited is open daily at the Vancouver Arts Centre.

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