Around the corner from our apartment in Passaic, NJ, there was a store that was a called a “5 & 10″. So named for the cost of the items they carried. Everything from toys, housewares, and some hardware. A mini department store.
Now, I never found the 5 cent items, except candy, but there were a few 10 cent items. Lined up at kid level were rows and rows of cheap…er, inexpensive, toys that were separated by glass partitions on a table type of display.
You gazed upon the grid of goodies, figuring out where your allowance would get the most bang for the buck. Or quarter.
One of them was a cardboard camera, or what looked like a camera, with thin translucent negatives and special paper wrapped secretly in black paper, stored in the body.
Plus, I was not sure why this added to the attraction, a piece of real glass on a hinge to cover the cardboard camera.
Hmmm….seemed like good value right here. Throw in a Sugar Daddy to get the motor running and the deal was done. 15 cents and life was good. And change back from the quarter.
[photopress:P3019.jpg,full,alignright] The question became which to open first: the camera or the candy. The choice became easy.
Sit on the apartment steps and do both. Hey, the Sugar Daddy had a wax paper wrapper so it made its own plate, so you could lay it down while checking out the kit, and get a sugar hit when it came time to ponder.
[photopress:sp_sunprint1.jpg,full,centered] Â© Studio 3D
Well, the process became obvious in short order. By putting one of the translucent paper negs on top of the magic paper that had been wrapped in black, sandwiching that under the hinged glass, secure it all with the enclosed rubber band, find some bright sun and Voila!
The magic happened! The cruddy little paper neg became a positive image on the small rectangle of magic white paper.
And to make it stay that way, a quick rinse in water.
Now, instead of using the sun for magnifying light and burning things like holes in leaves, it would be used for good.
Like putting the leaf on the paper and making a picture.
OK, it wasn’t for the good of anybody except a young boys fascination and something to do.
The summer was made.
So this week , we’d like to share that same item with you.
Can’t find the 10 cent camera anymore, but as you probably figured out by now, these are sunprints or cyanotypes, perhaps the oldest form of photography. The master Man Ray also used this process to create some of his finest art.
This was probably my first experience with any photographic process, except being in front of a camera.
And of course right after this experience, I moved directly to a 4×5 view camera and shot portraits of my friends in the local park with the steamy Third Ward Park duck filled lake as the background.
Just kidding.The next camera was a grey and silver plastic brownie with roll film and those funny little flash bulbs you used one a time, given to me by my brother when I was 8. That’s another story though.
You can either gift this to a young curious person or experiment yourself and maybe recapture a magical feeling you felt long ago.It comes with a book of instructions and some history info of the process.
And we’ll throw in a refill kit so you can keep on going.
You see, we feel that with all of the gear and technology available to us today, now and again you should strip it down and get to the root of it all.
And have some fun.
This is how the Weekly Giveaway works:
First of all you MUST be signed up for the NEWSLETTER. then on Weds. @ 9:00 AM PST check you email in box
1. open the email from email@example.com and Hit Reply
3. Delete the main body of the email (saving server space).
4. Put the “special word” – included in the NEWSLETTER only, in the subject line.
5. Add a shipping address.
6. Hit send.
The 40th person to reply will be sent
this cool Sunprint kit with refill !
No jacks to pick up before the ball hits the ground, no yelling “Jenga!”, and you will always pass go, although not collect $200.
And we ship all over the world.