Another Brownie Photo, 16 September 2009


As the title of this post suggests, I did enjoy shooting with the Brownie camera I wrote about in one of yesterday’s posts. Despite it’s utter lack of sophistication (or, for that matter, many of the exposure controls with which I have grown accustomed), there is a certain appeal in shooting with such a simple camera.


This is one of my favorite shooting locations in my hometown of Norfolk; this street is Colonial Avenue in the Ghent neighborhood. There is a wealth of older buildings along this street, and as you can see, there are also some interestingly shaped trees! This particular view affords me the opportunity to shoot a composition with the tree, sidewalk, street and cars, and the apartments along the sidewalk; there are many elements involved, but I think they balance together well.

Photo Information:

Camera: Kodak Six-20 Brownie Junior
Lens: You’re kidding, right? There are no markings on it!
Film: Ilford Delta 100 (120, reloaded onto 620 spools)
Exposure: Again, you’re kidding, right?

As for the photo itself, probably the first thing you’ll note is that, well, it’s not straight. Don’t bother pointing it out; I already know. As you can plainly see from the camera itself (as shown in yesterday’s post on the subject), the viewfinders are quite small; on this particular example, they are also a little foggy, [1] making it even more difficult to see through them. Combine these two factors, along with the brightness of the day, and it was a bit difficult to “properly” compose the image. Oh sure, I could’ve straightened it out in post-processing (it is a digital scan, after all), but in this case, I didn’t mind so much; given the lack of sophistication with the camera itself, the imperfections seemed fitting. [2] There are also some dust spots floating around, and the upper portion of the frame is definitely overexposed, but again, these imperfections don’t bother me as much as they otherwise would.



[1]: Before you ask, yes, I did try to clean the mirrors and viewfinder glass. The latter is the issue here, since the mirrors are quite clean. I tried to lightly clean these, but whatever is causing the “fogging” isn’t coming off with water, and I didn’t want to try any harsher cleaning agents (for obvious reasons).

[2]: Again, this is more or less the standard milieu for Kodak cameras. For most of Kodak’s target consumer demographic, the choice was primarily between taking any photo, or taking none at all. One could, of course, argue that this is still the case, with the plethora of simple, user-friendly point-and-shoot digital cameras today; generally speaking, there is a much smaller subset of photographically-minded individuals, for whom taking photos was already a foregone conclusion, and the choice would then be between taking a “quick and dirty” photo, or taking more carefully composed one. Normally, I (unabashedly) fall into the latter category, but on occasion, it is fun to drop such pretentions, and just shoot some pictures while hoping for the best.


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