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Marcel Safier
brisphoto

Australia
2 Posts
Posted - Jun 21 2009 :  04:02:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello all, I am new to this group and was recommended here by Vlad Kern via the IDCC camera collectors mailing list. I posted a query about early Russian manufacturers of wood and brass cameras and lenses.

I have a considerable interest in 19th century photography and early 20th century practice throughout the world. I collect wood and brass cameras along with other interesting cameras that take my fancy but especially those that cover the history of SLR. I also have around 25 000 antique photographs and I am continuing to explore Russian photography, especially the pre-Revolution period. I have a nice set of early Russian stereoviews dated 1857, some 1860s cartes de visite, several books of early Russian photographs and the best book I have found on the history of photography (in English) is "Photography in Russia 1840-1940" by David Elliott. Obviously there was a very flourishing early photographic scene in Russia so where are all the cameras they used?

I have been pointed to the pre-1917 section of this forum, the maker Karpov and another poster on IDCC mentioned the lens maker FOS/PHOS of Warsaw then St. Petersburg. I hope some members here might be able to expand discussion on the subjects raised.


Cheers!

Marcel
--
Marcel Safier (Photographic Historian)
PO Box 239
Holland Park 4121
Queensland Australia
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~msafier/
--
President & Webmaster - Cameraholics. Photographic Collector's Club, Queensland.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/~msafier/cameraholics/
--
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/woodandbrass/
For collectors of 19th and early 20th century cameras, brass lenses, camera shutters and other photographica and discussion about the collecting, history and manufacturers thereof.

Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1027 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 21 2009 :  6:53:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello Marcel and welcome to the forum!

I am also interested in the cameras and photography of Russian durning the 19th and early 20th centuries. The reason that we see so few actual Russian made cameras from this era before 1930, even though photography was very popular in Russia from it's invention onward, is mostly because very few cameras were made in Russia compared to the large numbers of imported cameras from Germany, England, and to a lesser degree, France and the United States.

Certainly during the 19th century, when Russia had a Czarist monarchy and the capital of the country was St. Petersburg, the Czars and their families were closely related to other royal families in Europe, by marriage in many cases. These close relationships with Europe led to much importing of European cameras and many retailers of foreign origin who opened up shop in St. Petersberg, Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa, just to name a few cities. Most catalogs from major retailers in Russia that I have seen sold almost exclusively foreign cameras.

I have few cameras in my own collection that are from European countries but have Russian retailer's labels attached to them and came to me from sellers in Russian cities. Even up until about 1925, eight years after the Revolution, it was mostly foreign imported cameras that were in use with very few small "artels" or workshops producing Russian made cameras in very small amounts.

So, if you look on Molotok.com, a sort of Russian Ebay, you will see a number of view cameras and lenses that are from England and Germany and are no different in any way except that they were imported into and used in Russia. Once production of Soviet cameras started on a large scale, in 1928 with the Fotokor and then a few years later (1934) when the Leica copies, VOOMP Pioneer and FED started to be produced, as well as Soviet-made view cameras, then the Soviet Government severely limited the import of photo equipment in favor of the Soviet products.

As well, probably many of the older cameras were destroyed during WWII and so this unusual combination of circumstances makes Russian cameras before 1925 very rare.

Your stereoviews from 1857 sound very early and interesting. No doubt they were made using European equipment. Who is the photographer of these stereoviews?

Regards, Bill

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okynek
759 Posts
Posted - Jun 23 2009 :  9:02:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Marcel welcome to the forum!
We can always use expert in old, I mean really old photography!!!
Do you have any pictures from Prokudin-Gorskii what you can share?
His pictures and technology he made them are amazing!
They were the most reviling pictures of old Russia for me. Ever!
I also like show to all camera what I recently bought. Seller honestly says that he do not know where it was made. He got it with bunch of mostly Russian cameras. Camera does resemble in some ways 'Fotos by Akimov' entry in Wiki:
http://ussrphoto.com/Wiki/default.asp?WikiCatID=104&ParentID=1&ContentID=872&Item=Fotos+by+Akimov
But many cameras at that era look like this. With all my efforts I can not find single hallmark, name, sign, anything. Iím sure some one in this forum can recognize this camera. Help please!

http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/2362009_DSCF7079.JPG



http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/2362009_DSCF7080.JPG


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/2362009_DSCF7081.JPG


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/2362009_DSCF7083.JPG


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/2362009_DSCF7084.JPG


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent/2362009_DSCF7082.JPG

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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1027 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 24 2009 :  09:22:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Okynek,
to me the camera does look like it is Russian made and I think it is very possible that you have found on of the variations of the Akimov cameras! Many of the details match. Very nice.

Regards, Bill

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okynek
759 Posts
Posted - Jun 24 2009 :  8:55:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Bill for your input! I sure hope so. Does not seems to be a lot of information about Akimovís cameras....
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1027 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 24 2009 :  11:41:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Maybe you could add your photos to the WIKI entry for that camera and make a note that says something like;
The photographs are of an unmarked camera, very possibly one of the models by Akimov and very similar to the one shown in the drawing, with some slight variations.

To my eyes, it is close enough to give it a possible attribution as by Akimov, unless someone can show that it is something else, and having your photos in the WIKI entry will enable others to see the photos for further research, comparison, and possible comment.

Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4197 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 25 2009 :  07:59:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Okynek and Bill.. I've been looking at this post and trying to remember where the heck have I seen almost exactly the same camera.. I think someone brought one of those to the Chicago Photographic Collectors Society meetings.. after some search on the web I've found a VERY similar Ernemann camera.. I sincerely hope this is Akimov's camera but it may be a pre-Zeiss falling plates box.... Look at the bottom of this site...

http://users.skynet.be/vitalspirit/e-boxcamera1.html

Look for Ernemann Box, H.Ernemann, Dresden

Vlad

P.S. great to hear from you Okynek!
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okynek
759 Posts
Posted - Jun 25 2009 :  10:08:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have to say that as much as I would like that my camera is Akimov's camera, it most likely not . Camera I have looks almost exactly like Ernemann Box on the bottom row. Thank you Vlad for link. Another mystery solved. Better luck next time
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Marcel Safier
brisphoto
Australia
2 Posts
Posted - Jun 30 2009 :  7:45:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Bill for your informative reply. You have confirmed what I suspected about the supply of cameras in Russia. Very few were made in Australia. Most were imported from Great Britain with a smattering from the USA and Germany. Examples of these with local retailers badges are not uncommon and I acquired one yesterday badged by Baker an Rouse, a quarter plate wooden camera without an actual maker's name but British made.

I am happy to provide more information on the Russian stereo views I have however finding them in the maze of over 25000 images I have, having moved house 2 years ago and still not having unpacked everything will be something of a challenge. I remember I have some early Russian glass plate stereo views as well. Will post details and scans when I find them.

Okynek, I don't have any Prokudin-Gorsky material but readers should check out this link: http://quazen.com/arts/photography/the-incredible-century-old-color-photography-of-prokudin-gorsky/ this year being the centenary of his colour efforts. Thanks for posting images of your drop plate camera. I collect British examples and it is interesting to see examples from other countries even if yours turns out to be German.


Cheers!

Marcel
--
Marcel Safier (Photographic Historian)
PO Box 239
Holland Park 4121
Queensland Australia
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~msafier/
--
President & Webmaster - Cameraholics. Photographic Collector's Club, Queensland.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/~msafier/cameraholics/
--
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/woodandbrass/
For collectors of 19th and early 20th century cameras, brass lenses, camera shutters and other photographica and discussion about the collecting, history and manufacturers thereof.
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