Well, I seem to have lots of time on my hands so I thought I would try some of the things in this book I received as a Christmas present.
The first project I decided to try was this one…
Seeing as I have a few box cameras and the one specifically mentioned in the article, it seemed the best place to start. Taking photos through the viewfinder with a digital camera. And that is what TtV means, Through The Viewfinder. I had also read about the process on this blog.
First though, I needed to clean the viewfinder of my Duaflex. I could find instructions online for other versions of the Duaflex, but not the one I had. So I just looked for the screws and undid them until I had access. After I had finished I found this tutorial. I wish I had found it first as I didn’t know how to remove the front plate though managed to get access to the mirror anyway. Sorry no photos of that, I forgot.
Then I used some random cardboard I had in the house. At first I tried my Sony a37 to take the photos, but it was tricky to focus as the auto focusing would not work. I put it in manual focus mode and moved the camera up and down the tube until focus was achieved. In the end I gave up and switched to my phone camera. That focused without issue.
The resulting photos were reversed, I could digitally correct that, but I wasn’t bother by it.
Here are some of the results I got from the Sony a37, of course I am restricted to my house and garden.
And here are some results from my phone camera, a Huawei P20 pro.
Well, that was a nice use of the day. I much prefer the black and white ones I originally got from this camera, on film. But it has been an interesting experiment, I don’t think I will repeat it.
I will try a few more ideas from the book, though you might get tired of photos from my garden 🙂
Part of my plan for the year was to great more zines or iBooks. In the past I have used Pages to make the layout for paper books and iBook Author for digital books. I found you can make iBooks with pages, but I preferred using Author. Personally I found it easier to use. Anyway, this time I decided to use iBook Author exclusively. When making the post about zines I found the website I used to print books needed a PDF upload, I realised I could create that on Author. That meant I didn’t have to use two programs and I could use the one I liked.
So with the last few days of the winter break I sat down and got to work….and made 3 new publications and converted my old, paper only one to an iBook.
Some of the books are free, some have a small fee which will keep me in film or go towards my new lens.
Here are the three new ones.
Once you arrive at the details, scroll down to see all of the ones I have made. They are only available on iBooks, so you need an Apple product to view them. Or you can send me a message and I might be able to create a PDF version for you.
One of my goals for last year was to self publish a zine. If you are not sure what that is then remember, zine is short for magazine. A zine should have original content made by you. This website has a number to view and explains more about what a zine is.
I have made iBooks before, but never an actual paper copy of something I have created. The first iBook I made is featured on this post. I have made a few other which you can either download for free or buy for a small amount. You can find details of those from this link.
For my first attempts I wanted to use a platform that was free. I wanted to know about the process before investing my own money. Once I had made a few iBooks I then moved on to the next phase, an actual published zine.
First I needed a project and as luck would have it, I had just been invited to take part in an exhibition. That meant I had my subject matter, well partly. I used two models for the exhibition photos and I had a model release from one of them, but the other model never returned theirs. As they were both friends I decided only to include photos of the one who felt more comfortable with the process. I had the right to use the photos, but not the heart. It did mean I had less photos to choose from, but I felt I had enough for a short zine. If you do have a model featured in your zine, make sure you get a model release and have discussed the possible uses of their images before you start the process.
Next I needed to find a cheap and reliable publisher. I have seen some exhibition accompaniments or self published books that are stunning, obviously costing a lot of money that I could not afford at the time. My other choice was printing the zine myself each time an order came in, but the cost of ink made this uneconomical in the long run. The company I chose in the end was Mixam. There are a number of other choices, but in my opinion this one had the most intuitive platform and was very competitively priced. With this website, first you decide on the type of zine or book you want, as in the paper and binding, then you add that to the cart. Next you are asked to upload your pages. That means you make the zine first, offline, using any software you like. Once saved as PDF pages you then upload them to Mixam. I much preferred that to the websites that wanted you to make the zine online using their own software. To create the zine I used Pages as I have a Macbook.
AND then a week later…tada, you have your first zine printed. Opening a box full of your own handy work is pretty cool.
Now it has been a year since I ordered 50 copies, I have about 10 left. I sent some to the model, gave some away, and sold the rest. I covered my printing costs, but the cost of posting them around the world took away any profit. At the moment, for me, making zines is for my heart and soul, not for my pocket. For my small following, I found 50 enough. If I need any more than that I can log back in to Mixam and reorder more.
I am at the point where I want to make another one. The best way to make any money is selling them directly at fairs or exhibition, which is on my list of goals for the future. I went to an Etsy fair recently where I bought a zine about making zines by Kristyna Baczynski. It has lots if information inside.
Anyway, the hardest part of the process might be having a concept. I have a few ideas for my next zine and am in the process of putting something together. I will try to make the next one available both digitally and in physical form. If you do make a zine, let me know. I might not be able to buy every one, but I would like to hear about it.
Last weekend I was invited to sell some of my cameras at a local vintage fair. I say invited, but I had to rent the table of course. What I mean is, I had forgotten all about it and received and email reminding me and hoping that I would be there.
At first I declined. Last time, I only sold 3 cameras, but gained 4 or something like that. I just about covered the cost of the stall. My wares were a bit of a curiosity, different from the other vintage stalls, a topic of conversation…not real antiques or vintage apparently. But then I remembered HOW many people I spoke to and the man who gave me the Contax RTS III. I still have that, maybe he would come to the fair again and I could hand it back?
So I changed my mind and said yes. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have enough cameras to sell…ha ha ha what was I thinking and this was before I got a heap of brownies.
I packed the night before and while doing so made a list of prices. Last time I put the price on the camera which seemed to stop people looking altogether. This way the customers had to ask, and seeing as they were talking to me anyway it seemed the way to go.
Last time I was a newby and felt out of place. This time, I was in the club and the other store holders remembered me, it felt much friendlier. Some of the other stall holders asked me about cameras and what to charge. One offered to sell me his father’s old camera, but the price I could offer was way less than it was worth sentimentally to him.
I set my table up in price order, that way I knew where to keep my eyes it if got busy or I left the table for a drink or bathroom break. The person on the next stall happened to be wearing the same jumper as me, so we were immediately friends. We covered for each other.
I sold a point and shoot almost immediately, then later another and finally the Olympus O-Product. It was a camera I had searched for and would have been happy to keep, but ultimately I wasn’t using. The prices for that camera have gone up recently and will probably continue to rise. I got a fair price for it and it happened to be the buyers birthday, lucky for us both. That was another reason for not putting prices on things, prices are going up. The last time I was there the o-product would probably have been half the price I eventually got for it.
Money in my pocket time for cake! They are smaller than they look.
The day went very quickly for me. I was posting photos online and I got a couple of nibbles on one of the camera forums I am in for other cameras.
And of course I chatted with lots of people. I gave demonstrations and answered questions, especially to children. I am a teacher after all. Some of the children had never seen a film camera let alone held one. Seeing a child hold a hundred year old camera was charming to say the least.
One couple said they had a camera at home they would like to sell, they described it to be and I knew exactly what it was. They went home and brought it in to show me, a polaroid land camera. I really wanted to buy it, but at that time I had not sold the o-product so didn’t have any spare cash. I am too honest so I showed them what they were fetching online and gave them a very low price I would offer. I explained I would have to test it and film was expensive. I even suggested they didn’t sell it to me but post it online as they would get more.
And finally it happened a woman came to the store and told me she had a Leica in the cupboard that her father had brought back from Germany after the war. She doesn’t know what to do with it or anything about it, but it is definitely a Leica.
I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT!!!!!!!! Please let me see it, please let me try it. I could at least let you know if it is working and what it might be worth????? PLEEEEEASE. But she laughed, took a card and walked away 😦
Anyway it was a nice day and I will do it again as I now have a world of Brownies. Roll on March.
Every now and then I have an urge to sort things out. Sort out stuff that is clogging up space, make room for new stuff, get rid of things I will probably never use again. This is especially true to books. I rarely keep novels, I keep most photography books. I get invested in books and take my time reading them, savouring all the emotions they evoke. But that means I rarely read something twice. There just isn’t time for that. I can think of two books I have read twice, Hot Zone and Bid Time Return. Nothing to brag about.
My father is different. He can read the same book, complete the same jigsaw many times. Weirdo. Anyway, that means we have piles of books all over the house. Yesterday was the day I decided to sort mine out and suggested he did the same with my help.
While rummaging through some Wilber Smith books, I found this…
How did this end up there? It wasn’t something I would have bought at that age, my dad couldn’t remember it, but there it was. I was tempted to put it on eBay, I was clearing clutter after all. Then I remembered who I was and had a word with myself.
It is an interesting little magazine. Some of the advice it gives holds true today.
Plus the advertisements are really interesting, oh the prices of film, £1.20 including postage for a roll.
And of course it is full of reviews, with technical details and original prices.
Looking at all the cameras and reviews has given me a bit of gas so for now I will keep it nicely on my shelf with my other photography books and magazines.
Then at some point I will scan it and make it available for others, but that would destroy the spine and your resolve to avoid gas.
This week has been quite busy photographically for me. Firstly I went to Blackpool to visit the exhibition which has moved there from London. While there I was invited to give a talk about film cameras on the 4th October. I haven’t planned yet what I will talk about as I was just asked. But I will explain the process I used to produce the photos in the exhibition. I will also take along some cameras to show how I have reskinned some in various designs.
Here are some examples.
The other announcement is that I will be at the vintage fair in Wakefield on the 12th October. I will have a few cameras to sell, plus other odds and ends. Last time it was there I spent most of the time chatting and convincing people that film is still alive.
Please come along and say hello, there will be a few bargain point and shoots to buy. Anything I sell me allow me to buy more film and enjoy my hobby a little longer.
I have finally finished the book about Frank Hurley. It was a heavy read. I don’t think I will read another biography for a while.
So now I have picked up this book…
I am thinking about the cameras I want to take to Japan tomorrow. I have to take my Nikon D750, but what camera for fun?
I have a suitcase with at least 5 cameras in it safe with a friend in Japan. Inside is a 35mm SLR, a TLR, and compacts are easy to get. So a toy camera seems the best choice at the moment….I am ignoring the golden half I know is in the case too.
I thought I would look through this book for inspiration. I do have the Diana F+ with an Instax back, plus the super wide and slim which I have yet to test. I don’t want to fill up my luggage with cameras I own in case go shopping for some bargains.
If you could take one camera for fun, what would it be?
I have been reading this book for a while. It is thick, heavy in terms of size and readability. Honestly, I am amazed by his life and what he went through to get his photos, but I will be glad when it is over. At least I can sit outside and read for a while. Actually the book reminds me of a TV series I just watched called, Chimerica. It was about a photographer who manipulated a news photo. Well, so did Frank. Many of his photos were composites.