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Photographic cameras and techniques

Photo 1

      Photography, as photographic art, traveled a long way to what we know today. The first attempts to fix an image on a metallic plate or piece of paper were made since the 17th century, but the true inventor of photography was J.N. Niepce (1765-1833). In parallel with his discoveries, another French researcher, Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1765-1851), manages in 1835, to obtain a latent photography, the new procedure being called daguerreotype. The method was to reproduce the photographic images on a metallic plate, but these photos had the inconvenience that they were shiny as the silver used in the process, and in time the photos were altered.


      In England, W.H. Fox Talbot makes a new discovery, which will revolutionize photographic art. This was represented by the action of light over silver salts on a piece of paper, respectively the support was blackened under the sunray action, in the spot were the object was exposed, and on other spots remained white. The advantage of the new discovery was in the realization of a negative, after which the desired number of copies was obtained. Other procedures and techniques followed: glass photography with the help of albumen (albumina), gelatin and brome plates, shiny paper, wet plates, etc.
      Romanians had their first contact with photographic art at the beginning of

Photo 1-2

when "Albina romaneasca" and

Photo 2

"Cantorul de avis" published articles which praised the secrets of the new techniques which started in Romania a real mode of "taking pictures". It is certain that in 1842 in our country photography was practiced, and in 1843 it is mentioned in Bucharest a photographic workshop led by Mrs. Wilhelmina Priz.
      Besides foreign photographers, Romanians also appear, represented firstly by Carol Popp de Szathmari, which will be official court photographer to the following rulers: Alexandru Dimitrie Ghica, Gheorghe Bibescu, Barbu ªtirbei, Cuza Vodã and Carol I, who later becomes king. Many of the photographic cards had reproduced on the back the medals obtained at various European expositions,

Photo 3

or those received from various sovereigns, photographed by Carol Popp de Szathmari (photo 1).
      Contemporary with the "painter and photograph of H.M. Carol I", who had his house on Ienii Street was Franz Mándy (photo 1-1, photo 1-2) the one who introduced platinotipia, meaning unalterable paper, and then the system of raster zed photos.

Photo 4

                        Romanian and its photographs beneficiated of a technique to match, which included cameras and accessories from the most famed suppliers: Eastman Kodak, Zeiss Ikon, Voigtländer (photo 16), Ernemann, Agfa, Ihagee, Richard, etc. The development of the photographic industry and the various offers for photographic cameras for amateurs, the net superior quality and the accessible prices favored the import of cameras in Romania since the beginning of the 20th century, thus not being necessary to develop a local industry. Only in

Photo 5

the year of popular power, I.O.R. launched on the market the first and only such photographic cameras for amateurs: "OPTIOR" and "ORIZONT", simple and small series cameras, the market already being caught by known brands.
      The "Photographic cameras and techniques" exposition organized at the headquarters of the Bucharest City Museum in May 2006 offers some of the most representative museum pieces in the museum custody.

Photo 6

At first, draw the attention the cameras used in Romania from the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, especially with bellow and obscure room cameras made in France (photo 7), Germany (photo 8), England (photo 9) and USA (photo 14), by the companies prior mentioned. Among the rare pieces on exhibit we have the "PHOTOSPHERE", one of the first metal cameras and with semispherical shutter manufactured by Compagnie Francaise de Photographie in 1888 (photo 2), a spy photo camera "EXPO WATCH" manufactured in 1905 in New York, which perfectly imitates

Photo 7

a pocket watch (photo 3), "KODAK PETITE" ensemble, green color (photo 10), small series with a special destination for ladies, sold at the end of the '20s together with powder box and lipstick,

Photo 6-1

24 mm photo camera "KIEV" manufactured in 1948 from the pieces and components of the Contax cameras of the German manufacturer Zeiss Ikon. At the end of the Second World War the Zeiss Ikon factory from Dresden was moved, as war compensation in USSR with all tools and components, many being reassembled and renamed, giving birth to a new series of Kiev cameras, the manufacturer being Kiev Arsenal from Ukraine. Also at the Exposition one can see one of the great photographic rarities the "CONTAFLEX" TLR, the first

Photo 8

reflex camera for 24 mm film, with inter-changeable lens and built in exposure meter with photo-electrical cell incorporated (photo 4). The camera, state of the art technology of the Zeiss Ikon company manufactured in 1935 was one of the most expensive photographic cameras of all times, due to the high price the camera being quickly removed from series market production, only a few specimens remaining, today being one of the most thought after cameras by collectors.

Photo 9

                        A special item is the miniature photographic camera used by the General Panait Warthiadi, used to capture front images during the First World War, specially made to order camera, probably unique (photo 5).
      Not to be ignored is the American "KODAK PANORAMIC No.4" camera, manufactured by Eastman Kodak in 1899 and used for panoramic photography by sliding the lens in the film's plane at a

Photo 10

142 degrees angle (photo 15). For architectural photography the American manufacturer Rochester Optical Co manufactured in 1895 the "LONG FOCUS PREMO" camera, camera provided with triple extension bellow the sliding of the lens in vertical and horizontal plane for the parallaxes correction (photo 17). This correction of parallaxes system was then adopted by the majority of manufacturers of photographic cameras and equipment. To these items we can also mention: stereo vision (photo 11), enlarging equipment, tripods, cassettes and plates for plane films, compound and compur shutters (photo 18), photographic kits, various accessories (photo 12) or decorative objects with images of photographs or

Photo 11

photography (photo 13).
      A well defined role in the exposition is represented by zincographic clichés (photo 6), or those on glass or celluloid (photo 6-1), among them some being executed by Carol Popp de Szathmari, D. Pappasoglu and Fr. Stork. Also, are exhibited vintage photos, executed in famous workshops in Bucharest, many bearing the mark of artists in this field. In the temporary exposition one can observe many exceptional pieces belonging to the Bucharest collector Francisc Ambruº.
Head of Bucharest City Museum exposition organization

Photo 12

Photos description:

Photo 16

The exposition poster

Photo 1 Visit card type reverse, with the advertising of the photographer C. Szathmari approximately 1890,

Photo 13

Photo 1-1 Visit card type reverse, with the advertising of the photographer F. Mandy approximately1900,
Photo 1-2 Share of the F. Mandy shares cooperative company from 1912,
Photo 2 "Photosphere" approximately 1888, manufacturer: Compagnie Francaise de Photographie,
Photo 3 Spy Photo "Expo Watch" approximately 1905, manufacturer Expo Camera N.Y.,
Photo 4 "Contaflex TLR" approximately 1935, manufacturer Zeiss Ikon Germania,

Photo 17

Photo 5 General Warthiadi's camera, approximately1913, manufacturer unknown,
Photo 6 Zincographic cliché, approximately 1900,
Photo 6-1 Celluloid cliché "Hanul lui Manuc", approximately 1906,

Photo 14

Photo 7 "Chambre a main", approximately 1920 manufacturer France,
Photo 8 "Contessa Nettel Sonnet", approximately 1920, manufacturer Contessa-Nettel, Stutgart, Germany,
Photo 9 "Ensign" approximately 1920, manufacturer Houghton, Anglia,
Photo 10 "KODAK PETITE" approximately 1918, manufacturer Eastman Kodak, S.U.A,
Photo 11 Stereo wood for the stereoscopic visualization of the stereo photos, approximately 1910, manufacturer France,
Photo 12 "Justaphot", optic instrument for the calculation of exposure times, approximately 1920, manufacturer France,
Photo 13 Champagne cup offered at the Rochester Masonic Convention, N.Y. 1911 S.U.A.,

Photo 15

Photo 18

Photo 14 "Seroco Camera", approximately 1901, manufacturer Seroco Co, S.U.A.,
Photo 15 "Kodak Panoramic", approximately 1899, manufacturer Eastman Kodak, S.U.A.,
Photo 16 "Voigtländer Bessa RF" approximately 1936, manufacturer Voigtländer & Son., Germany,
Photo 17 "Long Focus Premo", approximately 1895, manufacturer Rochester Optical Co., S.U.A.,
Photo 18 Pneumatic shutter, approximately 1887, manufacturer S.U.A.