I’m intrigued with cameras – especially old ones. By today’s digital standards, even the most sophisticated film cameras of years past seem primitive. Primitive or not, there’s something undeniably elegant about old cameras. They have character and function-driven style. They’re a physical testimony to a simpler time in our history. The camera you see here is the Kodak Vigilant Junior Six-20. It’s a folding camera produced by Eastman Kodak between 1940 and 1948. It uses 620 film and originally sold new for about $11.
A good friend of mine bought this one on eBay for $10. Much to her surprise, when the camera arrived, it had someone’s used film inside! Can you believe it! One could only imagine what might be captured on that old film. Of course, my friend’s first priority was to see if she could find someone to develop the old film. Luckily, a local shop took on the challenge. When my friend dropped off the film for processing, she was told that there were no guarantees and that they would call her within a few days to let her know if the film could be salvaged. All she had to do was anxiously wait and hope for the best. The shop called a few days later to let her know the results. They were able to process the old film and make several “decent” prints. My friend soon had the prints in her hands! The images were absolutely vintage! The old film yielded family portraits and images of rustic buildings. What an amazingly find!
When my friend showed me the camera and the prints, I was mesmerized. This old camera is so cool! My friend generously offered to loan me her new camera so I could take a picture of it. The image you see here is my tribute to this piece of photographic history.
While researching the camera online, I stumbled across cameramanuals.org and found an online version of the original camera manual. If you have an interest in old cameras, you’ll enjoy reading the manual. It’s dated, simplistic and charming!