Looking back, it is hard to believe that this is a camera I willingly chose to work with. I had been seeking an expanded point of view since the late 1970s. Just a year ago, I was using multiple images to fabricate complex vistas for the Trail Markers project. A year before that, there was the series of wide-ranging, wide-visioned panoramas taken with the Horizont panoramic camera.
It’s 1987. Those projects are completed. I’m looking for the next logical step in my photographic explorations. A tiny classified ad on the back pages of Shutterbug magazine grabs my attention. On offer was an antique Cirkut No. 6 Outfit panoramic camera. Without knowing anything about Cirkut cameras, other than their ability to take large scale, full-circle panoramic images, I place my order with the vintage camera dealer in some New England state, for something like $1,000 dollars. Continue reading
It’s an object of beauty. Built for desire as much as for function. It was the more portable view camera that I needed in 1983. But so beautiful as well.
Wista 4” x 5” Field cameras are hand-built in Japan. The camera bodies are constructed of rosewood or, like mine, cherrywood with intricate tongue-and-groove joinery, all finished with a clear lacquer to preserve the beauty of the wood. The hardware is all brass plate or finely machined solid brass knobs. The black bellows and brown carrying handle add accents of leather. This camera exudes craftsmanship in every detail.
Yes, it has a carrying handle. The Wista folds neatly into a relatively light, compact package that can easily fit into a mid-sized shoulder bag. This is a camera built for the prairies, built for backpacking, built for travel. Continue reading
Did this camera choose me or did I choose it? I can’t be sure. What I do see in the photos taken with my Cambo view camera is a wonderful synchronicity of photographer and machine.
I bought it used, in 1978. Found it advertised in the classified ads of the Winnipeg Free Press. At $300, including a high quality Rodenstock 210mm lens, it was a good deal for this university student. Continue reading