Mar 15, 2011

vintage photo talk

I get this question alot. "How do you make the black frames on your photos?" and then last week
pakosta said...
love that black look around the pix! are those from the iphone>!? if so, what app?! LOVE THEM!


That comment totally made me smile because that would mean that I'd have to have an iphone or some other type of photo taking/editing phone which I don't have. I still haven't upgraded to text-messaging. I know, I'm living in the dark ages of the new cell phone technology. I've just made peace with consistently being behind the times when it comes to being techno-trendy. Oh well.

But, that also means that I'm a fan of doing things the old fashion way. No cell phone apps or photo editing for this girl. It's vintage all the way. I love using an old camera to create a vintage feel for my photos. Any of my photos that have the black frame around them are called "Through the View Finder" photos or ttv for short.

I'm using the viewfinder of a vintage Anscoflex or a Duraflex camera and my digital camera to create those photos. You can start with any vintage camera that has a large view finder. When I first started I didn't want to take the time to create a light box, but after a few photos I soon realized that it's a pretty crucial part of ttv photos. Building a light box for the top of the viewfinder will help keep the light-glare off of the view finder lens.

check out this post on contraptions or lightboxes. I would love someone to take a photo of me actually using both cameras. It's a little awkward at first but with some practice it really ends up being easy to control both cameras by hand, at once. Although I've never used a tripod so that may be an easier option as well!

Once you've built a light box, you're all set to start taking photos.

**disclaimer time**
With ttv photos you have to accept a few things.
1. Your photos will not be clean and crisp. The lighter the background the dirtier your photos will appear because of the collected dust in the lens of the vintage camera.
2. You will look absolutely ridiculous taking these photos. Picture this: you're holding the vintage camera with a tall black box attached to the top (your light box) and you'll have your digital camera lens pointed into the light box focusing on the view finder lens.
3. Because of reason #2, you'll have alot of people asking you what you're doing... and you'll have to explain and re-explain yourself countless times.

**disclaimer over**

So, if you can deal with those things then you might want to think about finding a vintage camera and trying your hand at ttv photos. I've been able to find 3 Kodak Duraflex cameras at local thrift stores. There are also a seemingly endless amount of them on Etsy and Ebay, and because you don't need them to be in working order they shouldn't be more than $15. Just make sure to really look at the viewfinder, you don't want one that has any cracks and I stay away from cameras where the lenses are too clean. The more dust your viewfinder has the more authentic your photo will look.

Once you've found something pretty to photograph, your photos should look something like this at first:

The photo on the left is without the light box and the photo on the right is with the light box sitting on top of the viewfinder. The lightbox is what's going to create that black frame around your photo.

Once you've uploaded your photos on the computer you can edit and crop them. I crop the ttv photo so that a thin black frame remains around the image, but you can decide how much of a frame you'd like to keep!

I try to take my Anscoflex with me whenever we go on little roadtrips. (Even with the risk of looking ridiculous!) I have this idea, some day, of creating a roadtrip scrapbook made entirely with my ttv photos of all my travels. I imagine the photos are similar to the photos my grandparents would have taken back in the 50's. Here's a few of my fav. road-tripping photos!

I have a ttv set on Flickr that I started. I forget sometimes to grab my vintage cameras, but when I do get a chance to take ttv photos I always fall in love with it a little more. I think it would be a fun hands-on class to teach. A little workshop where we could build lightboxes, take a stroll, and practice taking these photos... a "Life through a Double Lens class." I think it would be fabulous!!

So, it may be easier to use an app on your phone but I think it's more fun to try the real thing!! What do you think? Would you be tempted to try your hand at ttv photos? xo ~ Tara


Unknown said...

OMG! I love, love, love this idea!! I am totally going to try to get this worked out (when I find some time!) Thank you so much for sharing!!

Unknown said...

I'm very intrigued with this!! So, how exactly do you use your digital + the vintage camera? Are you holding both together?
I'm having a hard time getting it. ;) But want to try it!!


Dawn McVey (dawnsing) said...

So, so cool, Tara. Love those pretty vintage photos.

Glad you posted today.....I was thinking of you this morning. Wishing you a wonderful week!


Sabrina said...

Love this post and your photos. I bought an old camera just to do these TTV shots. I've had it a year and a 1/2 and building the contraption is what overwhelms me. I need to get on that.

I dream of having tons of TTV photos and then trying to mount them like on these wood blocks that just make them pop out and then there is no frame to them. Then hanging them in my office at work. I tried finding the artist who mounts her images like this but can't find it anywhere. It's kind of like Tara Whitney did with her glass clip frames but makes it more like a canvas and they'd just be 4x4 or 5x5.

Anna said...

that is so awesome! my sister-in-law has a couple of old cameras - wonder if one of those would fit the bill... (i've yet to be converted to the smart phone too (although i do text - lots!))

Bonnie said...

those cameras are so amazing! I would do that too if I had one! I love your editing and the the effects!

Keshet said...

Definitely, these look gorgeous!

Lexi said...

completely ADORE these TAra! I have always wanted to do some true TTV photography..maybe this is the push I needed ;)

jen walters said...

I've always wanted to try TTV... these are great! Thanks for sharing. :) And, yes... harder than an app on your phone... but, this would be much more of an adventure!

Ashly Margritz said...

WOW!!! Never heard of such a thing!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Any more tips would be amazing!!! Off to search how to do this! Thanks for sharing

pakosta said...

WOW! you amaze me!
it was me who asked about the black frame ! I totally WANT to do this now!
very creative!!!

pakosta said...

p.s. I am so going to get a duraflex and try this! thanks for answering my (silly) question~!!!!

Fauve Design said...

You got me excited!Off to look for an vintage camera!

Carin Davis said...

BRILLIANT! I already have the camera...and I have used it with film...but this idea is much and developing are expensive!

Nadia Marie said...

I would totally love to learn to take photos like that! I also think that it would be fun to have a class that focuses on that. :-) Great post! I am going to see if I can find one of these cameras...

Nicole Austin said...

thanks for the tutorial! i will have to try this one day. what kind of digital camera do you use?

kelsey_the farmer's daughter said...

This is wonderful! Thank you so much for the idea and tutorial! I'll definitely be on the lookout during my next thrift store trip :)

Debra Howard said...

I was really impressed with your tutorial so I shared it on Google + and one of my friends there gave you a great compliment...they said that your tutorial was great and that they would have never guessed that was how you did it. Just thought I would pass that along. Blessings to you.