Countless faces: portraits of men, women, and children; endless landscapes; Manifest Destiny and the westward expansion of the nation; the American Civil War; the advent of the automobile . . . What marvelous, strange and wonderful, or even tragic moments has this lens witnessed and documented?
Manufactured in Paris by famed opticians, Jean Theodor Jamine and Alphonse Darlot, and produced in great numbers in the second half of the 19th century, lenses like this were the Nikon of their day.
Whenever you think of the archetypal, antique wood-box camera, a photographer standing under a black shroud behind it, this was the lens on the front, Jamin-Darlot’s most popular model: the Cône Centraliser featuring rack-and-pinion focus, and a reversible lens-element for taking either portrait or landscape photographs.
This exacting instrument is a triumph of machined brass and ground glass, handmade with precision yet idiosyncratic characteristics that make it desirable to this day — both for aficionados of traditional large-format, wet-plate photography, and also modern devotees that mount these lenses to the latest digital cameras!