Friday, December 20, 2013

Analog East Texas

Today officially marks the beginning of a new project. Admittedly, it has been in the works for a while, but now I've got a name for it.

(Click on any image to view larger)
As the title of this post says, I'm calling this Analog East Texas. I've seen a few analog projects here and there on the 'net, but this one here is mine.

What I'm planning to do is, each month, use one of the film, or analog, cameras in my collection to create a photo-rich feature for the newspaper I work for, The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

As I've probably said before, I've got a few old cameras in my collection and, fortunately, quite a few of them are still in working order. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to pull a few of them out now and again and put them back through their paces.

This first set of images come from the latest addition to my collection: A Kiev 4M, which I purchased with a Helios 103 lens (53mm f1.8, for you photo-geeks out there, like me) and a Jupiter 12 (35mm f2.8). Depending on who you talk to, the Jupiter 12 is probably one of the more desirable lenses to come out of the former Soviet Union, which is where this camera was manufactured.

The first Kiev cameras were manufactured shortly after the end of World War II after the Soviet Army, under provisions of war reparations, removed dies and machines used to make Contax cameras, designed by the legendary Carl Zeiss, from a factory in Dresden in Germany. All this equipment found its way to the Kiyev Zavod Arsenal in Ukraine. The first Kiev cameras were released in about 1947.

My particular camera came from a seller in Ukraine, from the city of Kiev. I ordered off a popular auction site on the world wide interwebs, around the beginning of the current upheavals in the country. (I'm not really political, not having a dog in the hunt, as the saying goes here in East Texas. So all I'll say here is my best wishes to any and all in Kiev and Ukraine for their safety and for a quick and successful resolution.)

I mentioned the issues in Ukraine, which you're more than welcome to look up on your own, only because I wondered as I waited for my camera if it would be able to make it out of the country! I kept tracking it online as the package made its way across the ocean, through customs and sorting facilities in New York, until it literally dropped off the map.

All it would tell me is the package left Flushing, Queens, on this day at this time. That's all it said for days. And days. And Days!

Then, low and behold, a series of e-mail alerts and my camera and I were in the same town! I dashed to the post office between newspaper assignments and there it was: A white box which traveled more in a few days than I really have in my life.

Anyway, the Kiev uses standard, 35mm film which is readily available at  your finer drug and discount stores around the country. (Getting it processed, particularly on the final weekend before Christmas, when everyone has just realized, 'Crap! WE NEED CHRISTMAS CARDS!' is another matter.)

I showed the top image, converted to black-and-white from the not-top-resolution scan from the discount pharmacy camera counter, to my publisher and he liked it. So, we're going to run the image Saturday (which might be today, or a few days ago, or the second Tuesday of next week, depending on all the timey-wimey stuff and when you read this) in the newspaper, announcing the soon-to-be-monthly appearance of Analog East Texas.

Check out my Analog East Texas project page on Flickr and take a look at the rest of my photos, too. I'll be updating the project periodically as the year progresses. And, please, don't hesitate to comment. I always welcome constructive criticism.

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