Out and About with my Virtual Box Brownie

Blogging challenges

Back in the Good Old Days, did you have a Box Brownie?  Do you remember hiding yourself in a darkened room to fiddle with the film, threading  the spool into your camera and winding it on, only to do the whole thing in reverse twelve shots later when you had to get the thing out to be developed at the chemist’s shop?  Do you remember spending your pocket money to have two whole films – that’s twenty four shots – to last you the whole holiday, and the frustrating wait of a week or so before your photos were developed?

Kodak Box Brownie much like mine (Wikimedia Commons)

Jude has asked us to remind ourselves of those days in this week’s Photo Challenge, by asking us to limit ourselves to twelve shots.  Jude however is profligate.  She’s allowing us to use all twelve shots in a single outing.  How improvident!  Even so, even with this quite generous allowance, I remembered the old anxieties.  Should I take this?  Would I regret it because there was something better round the corner?  What if I ran out of shots?

Here’s my offering.  A friend and I walked on Tuesday (socially distanced, of course) from Ripon to Bishop Monkton by the Ripon Canal, along some country lanes, then back to Ripon alongside the Rivers Ure and Skell. We enjoyed many quiet moments appreciating the waterscapes, the landscapes reached on foot from our starting point in the city centre.  Nine miles under our belts, renewed and refreshed.

As a homage to my Box Brownie Days, I’ll show you the photos first in monochrome, then in Glorious Technicolor.  It didn’t feel right to edit them in any way (apart from translating them into monochrome).

Most look neither better nor worse in my eyes in the two different formats – just different.  A couple don’t seem to work, and back in black-and-white days I probably wouldn’t have taken them.  Just one works better I think.    This journey into the past, thinking more carefully before pointing-and-clicking has been an illuminating and surprising pleasure which I’m sharing with Leya’s  Lens Artists Challenge. Click on any image to view full size.

This new perspective on photography would have been perfect for Becky’s Square Perspectives: but my pictures aren’t square.  I’ll choose one and square it up.  Maybe …. this one.

 

2020 Photo Challenge #26

Square Perspectives

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #103

 

 

 

 

63 thoughts on “Out and About with my Virtual Box Brownie

  1. I never did all those technical things with cameras, Margaret. My ‘ability’ starts and ends with point and shoot. But I did enjoy strolling with you, and gazing across those fields in their many hues. Have a good weekend! 🙂 🙂

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  2. Oh just wonderful – times gone by and memories too! All in a box. A lovely outing with lovely results, Margaret. I had a box camera, but don’t think it was a box brownie? I still have it somewhere. Mostly I remember my little Kodak with 24 pictures to be taken. And you describe it so well: “Should I take this? Would I regret it because there was something better round the corner? What if I ran out of shots?” And so long before the photo copies arrived in the post. And how I often got disappointed with the results…

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    1. I know! And there was the dreadful time when we were sent someone else’s holiday snaps. We sent them back, but sadly, this other family didn’t.

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  3. Oh, I love this reminiscence! Well done for going to the trouble of doing monochrome conversions for the ‘back in the day’ look! I didn’t have a Box Brownie (too young) but a similar sort of successor to it, which, as I re call, took square images…

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  4. A great set of images, Margaret. The black and whites are very dark and moody, so your two versions of them create very different feelings.
    I was Kodak instamatic, so no fiddling with rolls of film but all the same worries about rout of film, and and often long wait after holiday when I hadn’t yet finished the film.

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    1. Oh, yes! I had forgotten that. When you haven’t finished the reel. I also had a panoramic setting, but you had to take every shot in that format on the film.

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  5. Did I have a box brownie, did I? 🤔 I’m clearly so old that I can’t remember! I certainly remember instamatics. Love these parallel sequences, Margaret. My initial reaction was that overall the colour version is more pleasing but there were several balck & white shots which I thought worked really well. And yes! You’ve chosen my favourite to ‘square up’. B & W wins for me on that one 😊

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    1. There we are then. Good old B/w works sometimes. And certainly better than early colour. Have you got all sorts of peculiarly orange- faded shots from the early 80s? I have . Dreadful.

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  6. I never had a box brownie, but I did have some sort of camera and for my 21st birthday I received a Kodak Instamatic with the cartridge that you simply dropped into the camera and wound on. No more finding a dark corner to carry out the awkward task of threading film on the take-up spool. I love your take on this week’s challenge and that you actually managed to combine three in one! I’m in agreement with Sandra, the colour versions are better IMO, but the black and white versions do convey a very different time.

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    1. They do, don’t they? And some photos, like the poppies, weren’t worth taking. Whereas I liked the river in spate in b/w.

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  7. My mother had a box brownie which I still have. It hasn’t been used and I accidentally found film in it after opening it so that ruined that! I have thought about having a go with it but I just haven’t got around to try and finding film as I don’t think you can get the film it originally used anymore.

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  8. Delightful! I do have a little quibble, however. Technicolor is not what you used. Back in the days of Technicolor it was a process used in movie making, notably Hollywood. I visited their Hollywood lab several times more than sixty years ago. By then they were using Eastmancolor film and processes. Ask me to tell you some of my stories some time …

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    1. Actually Ludwig, though you’re quite right, I knew it had a ‘technical’ application. But the phrase has come to mean, in England anyway, any scene rendered in bright and in-your-face colours. And you can tell me some of your stories any time you like 😉

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      1. Thanks, Margaret. I figured that it was idiomatic. Hereabouts Kodachrome gets maligned that way all the time. Elsewhere I published some digitized Kodachromes and the skies are grayish, not at all Kodachrome blue. I expect to hear about that. Back in those early days I did garner a bit of fame in Hollywood. Infamy might be the more correct word. The story on another day …

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  9. What a lovely idea and your results are excellent. I love the moody monochrome – they remind me of a tiny envelope with a cutaway oval to reveal the first of a collection of souvenir photo prints of Ross-on-Wye (my mother’s home town) that is in my collection of family memorabilia. I particularly like the shot of the Ripon canal bridge forming an O with its own reflection. I think it is such a lesson to think more carefully about each shot, as if one still had the only-one-shot frugality demanded by expensive film. I can also remember waiting to get my dad’s holiday slides in the mail when we were kids and the ritual of setting up the slide projector etc. And then later my own prints – always disappointing of course.
    I have my aunt’s very old Box Brownie, but I doubt it works even if one could get film. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic that my gran bought me as a birthday present using her precious Green Shield stamps. I don’t have the camera anymore, but I do still have many of the square prints it produced.

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    1. Oh, what a trip down memory lane! I remember Green Shield Stamps too. You had to have thousands and thousands for them to be worthwhile. I found that task – only to use twelve shots – an interesting discipline which I may repeat. How many hundreds of shots do I have which I never look at again ? And nor could I find them, probably.

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      1. Glad you also remember Green Shield Stamps. I wonder when they were discontinued?
        I think I will also give the twelve-shot shoot a try – such a good discipline.
        I am trying to clean up my practice and delete dodgy photos as soon as they are downloaded, but am also going through my archives and taking out the bad shots and also near duplicates that are okay pics but similar to others. Not the most enjoyable task but I am running out of storage space and it is a good incentive to have an overdue cleanup. I do get a sinking feeling though when I select “Empty Recycle Bin”. So irrevocable, but I know it is most unlikely they will be missed unless I make a huge mistake!

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      2. Pressing ‘Empty’ is always ridiculously scary, isn’t it? But yes, the discipline was fun. And let’s face it, rules are made to be broken, and if we see a wonderful opportunity, and it makes it in at number thirteen … does it matter?

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      3. Yes it is a bit ridiculous but I did once delete a whole lot of originals of pics of a holiday and only have low res copies – better than nothing I suppose.
        Yes rules are made to be broken. I will try to do that only-a-few-shots thing, but fear I will break the discipline almost immediately! Am thinking maybe to go outside and set the camera to monochrome and try to do some retro-type shots. I really do like your monochromes.

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  10. I never had a Box Brownie. One of my friends had an instamatic camera and we used to pray to Mr Ray that the pictures would turn out before pulling their backs off.

    I prefer the coloured shots to the black and whites, even though the latter have more atmosphere in some ways. It was lovely to see the bellflowers growing wild.

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  11. Such an interesting and apposite post for me to read this morning having just ‘endured’ a photo session where over 80 shots delivered only two or three useful photos. I think your 12 shot collection is an excellent example of a very tight brief resulting in some beautiful pictures achieved in a considered manner. Sadly in a general sense and irritating for me specifically, I don’t think the younger generation do patience these days.

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    1. I suspect your standards are extremely high. It would be fun to send some younger photographers out with an older camera and a reel of film, send them away for a weekend and tell them that what we’d given them would be all they could use.

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  12. My friend next door and I received box brownies for Xmas when we were about nine years old. We took a photo of each other taking a photo of each other. The camera has long gone but I still have that photo and my friend.

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