I was impressed when we went to see Kevin’s 16 mm camera that he had all the manuals and paper ephemera associated with it. One item that particularly impressed me was a rotating paper disc used to calculate aperture settings based on light conditions and the type of film used. Even the instructions on how to load the film can be interesting in this era of automatic digital cameras.
The name of the original owner, the store from which it was purchased and the date of purchase are all detailed in the surviving paperwork, as is the camera’s service record. Details like these add greatly to the human story of the camera as an historic artefact and the provenance of this item can not be in any doubt.
On its own this camera would be a sterile object, worthy of keeping on display as an example of a past technology. With the manuals and other ephemera it becomes much more interesting because its story is preserved. We can know who owned it, when they bought it and where they lived. It becomes a snapshot into history. With a little more research we can recreate the lifestyle of an era that is rapidly slipping from our memory.

Watch Kevin's 16mm camera, a story about cars and cameras: open.abc.net.au/projects/object-stories-29ff4ez/contributions/kevin-s-16mm-camera-25xk3ci

Words by Graeme Buckley
Photos by Marion Walker-Campbell
Music by Kevin MacLeod

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