Today’s Weird Thing is this vintage Kodak camera.
I have a love of old things that were once used to create things. It’s why I love my old typewriter and why when I saw this camera on a back shelf in an antique store in a sleepy mountain town, I knew I had to have it.
This is a Kodak Jr. Six-20 Series II camera, made between 1937 and 1940. I literally spent my last $15, a week before payday, to buy it. I was living in a small town in Appalachia at the time, where antique stores full of awesome things were every few miles and probably owned by the same person.
Even though I know few people share my penchant for weird old crap, I love giving carefully picked antiques as gifts. So for Christmas, an old friend became the third person I’ve ever given a vintage camera to as a gift. When my then budding and now professional photographer roommate declared me the “coolest girl in the world” I knew I’d nailed it.
Three people, and I had yet to buy one for myself. But that changed the day I ran to the bus stop as my bus pulled away and I just decided to walk the two miles to work instead, passing my favorite little antique store. I decided to duck in quickly. And there it was just waiting to be bought.
A few days ago, I bought two rolls of film for the camera, and though I have no earthly idea how to use it, I’m taking it to Europe with me as part of a little experiment in time travel. How do I decide what to document if I can only photograph 16 things on two rolls of film?
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