Last Updated on 05/29/2018 by Mark Beckenbach
How does your vintage camera collection stack up to this collection?
Everyone, meet your new photography hero. In a recent episode of Gizmodo’s Show Me Your Nerd, California-based vintage camera collector historian David Silver showcased his beautiful collection of mid-century cameras — all of them beautifully displayed on their dedicated shelves and screaming the vintage aesthetic that has been popular in the last few years. If you’re looking for inspiration to grow your camera collection, he’s definitely someone who fits the bill!
“If you have the cameras from that time, you can in some way experience what it was like to be a photographer in that time. And that’s living history,” David said of his love for collecting vintage cameras. We can’t agree more to that.
The fascination for vintage cameras began way back when David was 16; his father gave him a Kodak folding camera that belonged to his grandfather. Many years later, bored with his job, he shifted careers and became an antique camera dealer. It was the start of his stint as a vintage camera collector, amassing as many as 2,000 cameras, many of which were released at the cusp of photography being accessible to everybody.
Today, he has relegated most of the gorgeous wooden folding cameras and large format cameras — the income generating ones — to his sales. His collection is now mostly comprised of the bakelite box cameras of the 1950’s, a reflection of his fascination for the mid-century modern aesthetic. “The clean lines and the way form and function come together. The cameras from that period reflect that and I have about 200 of them now.”
It may be weird to shift from the wooden cameras to simple bakelite plastic cameras, but David says once you’re a collector, you’ll always have that itch. And you have to scratch it. “Part of the joy of collecting is the treasure hunt,” he says, and many of us can’t agree more to that. With all the ebay finds we’ve been sharing, we here at The Phoblographer are no different. Definitely guilty as charged!
At the end of the video, David gives us a heads up on where his collection is going to lead — a book on the evolution of the camera and of photography itself. Somebody has to make it, he says, and he seems to indeed be the man for the job. A historian and a camera collector — what more can you ask for?
Screenshot image from the video by Gizmodo