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CAMERA AUCTIONS

Ok, Uncle Dana (aka Commander Pinhole) here with a question for you. You don't have to answer now on a public forum:  just think about it.

Question:  do you secretly like it when other people start to talk about photography because you know that whatever they say and whatever story they tell you can top it?

And the reason you can do this is because you know everything about photography.  Everything.  Really?  You know everything?  Ok, what is an Isographe, c.1944?  How about an Enofilm, 1930?  Tell me about a Biflex 35, 1950.  What does it look like?  What color is it?  About how wide is an Ermanox 2,0, 1922? What is at the 2:00 o'clock position on the front of the 1928 Cent Vues?  Who was Heinrich Hoffman?

Describe an 1890 Photosphere.  What's a Homeos set?  How about a Belle Gamine, c.1905?  Do you own any Daguerreotype & Wet Plate cameras, c. 1840-1850?  No?  I thought you knew everything about cameras.   Let's see:   you aren't a machinist who knows how cameras are tooled, you are not a designer who knows the design and engineering parameters for camera manufacture, and you are not a chemist responsible for film development. You wrote a check in a camera store.  Relax.  It's a nice hobby and an interesting profession, and you are a nice person and maybe and interesting professional photographer; but you do not know everything about cameras.  Get over it.  Get over yourself.  How about a replica of one of these Daguerreotype & Wet Plate cameras?  Have you built a replica for your 'I've Got Everything Collection'?  Never heard of that?   Well, you've heard of it now big boy.  You couldn't reasonably build a replica of a Leica 111a, 1935 camera but you could build a replica of one of those old fashioned box and plate image collectors.

Tell me what a Phenakistiscope is.  No, you don't have to spell it--just describe it.  What's a mutoscope?  How about a Megalethoscope viewer, 1861?  No, it does not have anything to do with dinosaurs.   Never heard of it, have you?  You know if I am listening to someone talk about photography who has been an avid enthusiast for ten years and I find out that they have never been to a camera auction I have to wonder if they are players or talkers.  Maybe that is just me.

All of the above mentioned items and hundreds more were on display and available for purchase September 26 & 27 in Cologne, Germany at the Photographica & Film & Classic Collector's Camera auction of 2008.  If you live in the United States have you ever attended one of the Tamarken Photographica bi-annual rare camera auctions?  In 2008 it was held June 22 in Woodbridge, Connecticut.   Remember the November 17th, 2007 auction held in Vienna that featured Leica rarities?  Oh, you weren't there?  Ok, did you order the catalogue at least?

Hey, I've got an idea; maybe you don't know everything about cameras and photography.  Do you know who knows more than you about cameras and photography, and most probably knows more about cameras and photography than a machinist working for a camera manufacturer, or virtually all amateurs, and many retail camera store people?  Curators.  That's right, the curators and assemblers who put together these auctions.  If they start talking, just listen. You are not going to be able to top their stories.

Years ago I had a girlfriend at college whose father owned liquor stores and parking lots in Manhatten.  He died and Esther inherited a lot of money.  Thank-you Daddy.  When summer came and school was out she went to a travel agent in Manhatten and said:  "Book me for the next two months on a tour of Europe according to the greatest four star restaurants. I don't care about anything else. I don't even care what country I am in. I just want to spend two months eating at the greatest restaurants in Europe."

It was a theme vacation and I thought a clever idea.  I would also like to do something like Esther did.  To wit: a travel tour based on a theme.  The theme would be camera auctions.  I think it would be fun to spend a couple of months touring the world according to the greatest camera auctons.  Spain, Iceland, Honduras, Monaco, Dubai, Romania, Turkey, Brazil, Taiwan, Mexico, South Africa, Greenland, United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, United States, Japan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, etc.  If you could line up thirty international auctions it would be fun.  Maybe life changing in some way.

You say you just took a great picture of a duck in a park?  In fact, in your humble opinion; it is the greatest 'duck-in-a-park' picture ever captured on film?  Good on you.  I just got back from a camera auction in Japan where the information booth girls were more knowledgeable about matters of photography than anyone I have ever met.

Just ramblin' Bangkokimageites . . . what do you think?  Has anyone ever done this?  Traveled the world according to camera auctions.  Has anyone ever written about this?  Let me know what you think.  Consider sending in your experiences regarding camera auctions to this wonderful website.

Ok, you have never attended a domestic or international camera auction but you have a huge collection of camera auction catalogues?  Ok, start writing.  It all counts.

And remember:  God bless photography.