camera

Argus C3, a piece of family history

Friday, April 23, 2010


A little hobby of mine happens to be photography. When I was in high school I spent most of my days in the darkroom perfecting my developing technique and most of my evenings and weekends perfecting my camera work and honing my artistic eye. Unfortunately, through the use of a digital camera and lack of access to a darkroom, my skills as a photographer have dulled and my passion for pictures has diminished. Monday, to my delight, my grandfather brought me a little gem that revived that old obsession I had with photography and encouraged me to dust off knowledge about f-stops and shutter speeds.
That's right, the Argus C3, also fondly dubbed "the brick" for obvious reasons, is my new challenge. The brick was a prized possession of my grandfathers, and grand purchase for a poor boy from the middle of nowhere. The Argus traveled all over the United States with Pa and even went to Korea with him when he went to war. The Argus photographed my aunts, my uncles, my grandma and my mother as well as the countless fish Pa caught over the years. I am honored to be the new owner of this piece of family history. 




The Argus is a challenge. Heavy and hard to focus, it will take some work to get photographs that are actually decent. Little on the camera is automated, which is to be expected for it's age. You must set the shutter speed, the fstop, the film speed. You must wind after each photograph and autofocus? No way. This is photography in a relatively raw form and it's amazing. Remember when the results weren't instant and each photograph was a mystery? I'd forgotten how much fun taking pictures could be. Now I just need to find a darkroom I can use....or set up my own. 

To try the Argus out I took a trip to Forest Lawn cemetery in Buffalo, one of the most impressive cemeteries I have ever seen. I finally got the chance to use some black and white film that had been sitting around for far too long and I got the chance to enjoy a beautiful day, even though most of my pictures turned out blurry. Below are some of my more "successful" shots (photographs of photographs...so need a working scanner). 












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