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Old Sep 3, 2006, 6:53 PM   #1
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Sorry, nothing whatsover to do with digital SLRs except to give pause to consider how difficult it once was.

Some time ago our local newspaper carried a story from a New Zealander who had visited Egypt at the start of WWII.

He and his friend were walking in Cairo when a street photographer persuaded them to take thier photograph which he promised to deliver really quickly. The person telling the story was a photographer himself and took careful note of the process.

The street photographer had a home made box on a tripod complete with dark cloth and a bucket of water at his feet.

The subjects were shown exactly where to stand and the exposure taken by whipping off the lens cap with suitable artistic florush.

Then the photographer put his hands under the cloth and busied himself for some time working blind inside the box. Eventually he pulled out a negative on paper which he rinsed in the bucket of water then mounted a stick with a paper clip on the front of his camera and took another exposure.

Again, more work with hands in the box until he drew out the positive on paper which was rinsed in the bucket and given to the customers.

The chap telling the story took it immediately back to his hotel room and completed the rinsing process and carefully dried the photograph.

The newspaper showed the photograph which has survived 65 years and it looked better than average, in fact quite good I would hazard to suggest.

Incidently, I saw street photographers in Kabul during the Taleban era (doing the mandatory shots for identity cards) and for all I know they might have been using the same process, their equipment was certainly old enough and yes they had a bucket of water beside the tripod.













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Old Sep 3, 2006, 8:56 PM   #2
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Must have been quite a sight. If my dad was still alive I would ask him as he served in Egypt with the British REME and actually there are many pictures in our albums that come from Egypt.

Mostly there 120 or 220 I think.
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Old Sep 3, 2006, 10:09 PM   #3
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I remember the same process was done in the 50s in Hong Kong. Taking pict was huge deal and huge expense by the day's standard. Nowaday we would not even think and junk digital photo into the recycle bin .
Great story that does remind us what it was like. Photography has come a long long way. Who would have thought Kodak would be in financial trouble 10 yrs ago.

Daniel
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John Hill wrote:
Quote:
Sorry, nothing whatsover to do with digital SLRs except to give pause to consider how difficult it once was.

Some time ago our local newspaper carried a story from a New Zealander who had visited Egypt at the start of WWII.

He and his friend were walking in Cairo when a street photographer persuaded them to take thier photograph which he promised to deliver really quickly. The person telling the story was a photographer himself and took careful note of the process.

The street photographer had a home made box on a tripod complete with dark cloth and a bucket of water at his feet.

The subjects were shown exactly where to stand and the exposure taken by whipping off the lens cap with suitable artistic florush.

Then the photographer put his hands under the cloth and busied himself for some time working blind inside the box. Eventually he pulled out a negative on paper which he rinsed in the bucket of water then mounted a stick with a paper clip on the front of his camera and took another exposure.
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Old Sep 3, 2006, 10:50 PM   #4
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But John-

Isn't there a conclusion to your Cairo story, that was so quickly transported to Afangistan? You have me on tenterhooks! Please a sample photo, or at least, an end to the story. You really have me wondering?

MT/Sarah
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Old Sep 4, 2006, 2:05 AM   #5
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I remember the same process was done in the 50s in Hong Kong.


They were doing something similar in New Zealand in the 50s too Daniel, I still have a copy of one my parents had taken of mewith my father in about 1952. I vaguely remember the photographer messing around in a box at his feet but I always asumed he had a glass plate or something, not the Egyptian two-papers technique.

Sarah, I made a few visits to Kabul as part of my job, even managed a few pictures on disposable cameras etc, photography being forbidden at the time.
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Old Sep 4, 2006, 4:44 AM   #6
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That was me early 50s
I have scanned as much as possible all the old family album and make sure every family members have a copy of the dvd .
Unlike the the dslr nowaday, the camera that time was fool proof. Our dslr would be dead just because of one little contact issue. Chemical photography had been around for more than 150 yrs and pretty mature already in the 50s.

Daniel
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I remember the same process was done in the 50s in Hong Kong.
They were doing something similar in New Zealand in the 50s too Daniel, I still have a copy of one my parents had taken of mewith my father in about 1952. I vaguely remember the photographer messing around in a box at his feet but I always asumed he had a glass plate or something, not the Egyptian two-papers technique.

Sarah, I made a few visits to Kabul as part of my job, even managed a few pictures on disposable cameras etc, photography being forbidden at the time.
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Old Sep 4, 2006, 5:04 AM   #7
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I thoroughly agree Daniel that chemical photography was well developed in the 50s but I am sure by that time the glass plate negative was on the way out except for special purposes whereas the celuloid negative was the norm for most people.



What I found interesting about the story from Cairo is that the negative was on paper and the photographer used his camera to photograph that again to get a positive on paper to give the client.

Just how common was this practice I wonder?





P.S. Great picture of the young man in the garden.

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Old Sep 4, 2006, 5:46 AM   #8
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Wow. That was unique. I did not pay too much attention to the process. That would have been a forerunner of Polaroid which was huge success decades later on. I can imagine that Cairo in 39 was very short of resource or material. That was quite something.

Daniel


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I found interesting about the story from Cairo is that the negative was on paper and the photographer used his camera to photograph that again to get a positive on paper to give the client.

Just how common was this practice I wonder?
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