All images by Ryan Okpych. Used with permission
Some of us start to collect cameras later on in our adult life. But photographer Ryan Okpych is one that gives us lots of hope for the future. At the age of 13 from Summerville, SC, Ryan has amassed the collection that you see above. It’s quite the film nerd’s dream.
“…it all started back in 2010 when this thrift store down the block opened, my mom and I checked it out. In this box of old electronic stuff was a whole bunch of old computer stuff. As I dug around I found a Polaroid Onestep SX70 Camera.” states Ryan on how the four year hunt began. “I thought it was pretty neat, so my mom let me get it for $3 or something like that. I took it home and cleaned it up, a quick wipe down would prove that it was in good condition.”
Ryan used the web to research the camera and saw that the film for the camera was discontinued in 2008 and was disappointed until the Impossible Project. Indeed, they created the prescription for Ryan to get his film fix. “I went back to the thrift store the next day and found two more cameras. Those cameras were $1 a piece,–a Onestep Closeup and a Onestep Flash. It was on from there, leading up to where I am now with over 200 Polaroid cameras.”
Fast forward to 2012, and Ryan had purchased pretty much every Polaroid camera that he found. Eventually he had a lot of them sitting around. So he cleaned them up, tested them and then did exactly what almost anyone else would do at this point: sold them as refurbished. “Sure, they aren’t Impossible quality refurbished, but they were pretty clean at the end. I cleaned, packed, and shipped every lot that I do.” Ryan continued to state that he spends hours cleaning cameras and testing them, so they can be sold on eBay.
What he found out later though is that the Impossible Project in America actually buys some of their cameras from him.
More images of the cameras are after the jump. But we think that it’s more important that a 13 year old photographer is helping to keep this part of our photographic identity alive.