Popularised by George Eastman, flexible film revolutionised and democratised photography in 1888 from the the cumbersome and technically complex plate processes. In 1900 the first version of the Brownie camera sold 100,000 and this portable and economical camera and spool film meant photography was available to the masses. The snapshot age was here.
Designed by Frank Brownell, he named the camera after the household spirit in Scottish folklore – brownies or broonies (Scots) – these mischievous spirits are said to come out at night while the owners of the house are asleep and perform various chores. Making images was no longer the photographers chore.
This patent for the Brownie camera shows how the new spool film would be used.
In October 1901 the Brownie No.2 camera was released using a new size of film – 120. (The first version of the Brownie had used a similar but different spool – 117.)
Still widely used today 120 is the only medium format film to survive in the digital age – hopefully it will still be here in another 120 years time!
Share your favourite 120 photo with us in the comments.
And of course meeting people and seeing people’s actual physical photographic prints at the Botanics made for a great end to the month!
Our July meetings are as follows:
11th – Collodion Club
13th – 2nd Tuesday of the Month – Evening Meet from 6:30pm (BST)- Virtual, please email or DM for details.
25th – Last Sunday of the Month – Summer Photowalk from 11am (Meet at Cramond Brig) – Cammo Estate and Almond River. Please email to indicate if you would like a lunch reservation or for car pool (regulations on date permitting). LRT bus 43 stops nearby.
28th – Last Wednesday of the Month – Coffee Morning from 10:30am – Outside Cafe at Saughton Gardens. LRT buses – 1, 2, 22, 30, 38 – stop nearby. Bring along an exposed film – lets swap!
Members Competition 2021. Entries by midnight 24th April. Anonymous independent judging, prize £50 photo materials voucher. Any pinhole process (sieve, zone plate, solargraph, camera obscura photo etc.) made between January 2021 and 24th April. Submit one entry per person by email. (Digital file 1800px max side preferred ). Winner announced on pinhole day. In the event that any of the organisers photos are selected – the prize will go to runner up.
On Sunday the 25th we will celebrate the simplicity of camera vision with a hybrid day of virtual chats and a socially distant photowalks. Join in online, outdoors or go your own way!
10am Coffee Chat – online.
11am Socially Safe Sakura Search – outdoor photowalk in the Meadows, Bruntsfield.
6pm Wrap Up – online. Competition winners will be announced.
Cyanotyping on maps and speed formulas for in camera cyanotype processes.
How minature can collodion plates go?
Our next online meetings are April 13th from 6:30pm, April 25th for pinhole day activities (10am virtual coffee, 11am socially distanced sakura photowalk and 6pm virtual wrap up and competition results) and April 28th from 10:30am. Send us an email or DM on Social Media to get added to our virtual world.
The “Dark Box” in this instance is their travelling darkroom in the shape of a well known police box – just the right size to pour the collodion plates , sensitise them in the silver bath and develop after exposure.
Dark Box’s director (and LoFi member) Gregg McNeill generously showed us round his studio and lighting set up before letting us loose on his beautiful victorian cameras.
A very enjoyable day even with all the covid secure measures! A collodion club when possible would be wonderful.
Our guided efforts turned out very well but please look at the Dark Box portfolio to see just how beautiful the unique plates can be.