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Help identifying a camera

 
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shamill



Joined: 06 Jan 2014
Posts: 2
Location: United States

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:43 am    Post subject: Help identifying a camera Reply with quote

I am trying to identify the camera on the tripod in this photograph:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/s7r88ubllbzi2l4/Smith1947.jpg

Although the camera is not visible, does the angle the photographer is using to take the photograph and the angle used to take the picture correspond to the angle of the viewfinder in a Graflex 9x12?

(This photo depicts David Smith taking a photograph of his sculpture in 1947. According to his archives, at the time he owned a 9x12 Graflex box camera with 5x7 BL Tessar lens #315380. He would have purchased it around 1931.)

I would be so grateful for any thoughts on this!
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1861
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If by "box camera" you mean Graflex SLR, that's probably not what's under the dark cloth. Graflexes were and are usually used as more-or-less waist-level cameras. The ground glass used for focusing and composing is on top of the body and is viewed through a vertical viewing hood.

The photographer's head is under a dark cloth and seems to be behind the camera. That's not how Graflexes are normally used. The invisible camera could well be a Graphic or a view camera.

A "5x7" B&L Tessar Ic's focal length is 7 7/16". This is about right for a 4x5 Graflex.

Graflex Inc. and predecessors worked in imperial units, not metric. 9x12 is an unusual size for a Graflex SLR or Graphic press camera.
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shamill



Joined: 06 Jan 2014
Posts: 2
Location: United States

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Dan. This is very helpful.

It does seem to be an impossible set up for a Graflex camera.

This is the photograph that was taken in the picture, of the sculpture:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/o0nvnye9c93o2jo/Smithoculus1947.jpg

The photo's measurements are: 3 1/2 x 4 7/8 in. Is that a film format that would not have been used by Graflex cameras?

The 9x12 comes from an invoice written up by Peerless Camera in NY when David Smith sold the camera to purchase a new 4x5 Busch Pressman in 1950. It reads "Less exchange of 9 x 12 Graflex box 5 x 7 BL Tessar
Lens #3153810"

It does seem odd that a camera store would use a metric measurement here.

Thank you again for your help.
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SH
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1861
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a print, not the negative. The print and negative don't have to be the same size, enlargers were used in the '30s. But it could well be a contact print. If so, it is probably from a 4x5 negative.

There's no accounting for camera store clerks.
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