May 012013

This odd looking device is the hipster of the vintage camera world: kooky, quirky, and infectiously lovable. This is the same model Warhol used to create so many of his most famous portraits and prints. The long snout makes what is essentially just a big plastic box with a hole in it something special. It’s this distance between the lens on the front and the film in the back that virtually eliminates any distortion caused by the lens itself, so subjects appear very nearly as we see them with our eyes. It’s a very basic bit of kit: just the casing, lens, shutter-release, a slot to hold the film, and a 60-second timer to measure the film’s developing time. In fact, it’s so basic there’s no focus! To ensure crisp clarity, the photographer looks through the range-finder eyepiece (that’s the periscope-like pipe on the side) which displays a double image that’s actually a composite of two, almost identical views of the subject: one from the top and one from the bottom end of the range-finder; these two views show a parallax that can only be resolved by physically moving the camera closer or farther away form the subject. This back-and-forth eventually became known as the “Big Shot Shuffle”. Andy dancing behind a Big Shot camera: now that’s something I’d love to see!

status: sold

 Posted by at 3:37 AM

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