How Do We Know?

DSCF1854How do we know how many disasters have passed us by in the photographic world? It’s not as if they make the sound of tearing calico, like artillery shells as they arch over our trench and impact further back. Most bad ideas are silent.

The only sure record is old photographic publications. Not the scientific ones like the British Journal of Photography or some of the German publications – these are far too dry and accurate to feature the really sad designs and outlandish ideas. They have their own charm, if your idea of a good time is reading minutes of a committee meeting, but none of the really stupid ideas get a mention.

You need to go to some of the popular publications in the US and the UK in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s – and you can also entertain yourself with Australian and other Commonwealth magazines of the period. There are bound to be a few dilly discoveries in every issue – particularly if the magazine is intended for photography enthusiasts as well as the general population.

We’ve seen schemes for colour print production in all forms; 3D, house print film, especial cassettes, etc. as well as a number of promises of ” Instant Pictures” that require you to work at it for about 1500 instants in a row. No end of “universal fitting” tripod accessories have been made and the amazing part is that none of them interchange. Roll film sizes are supposed to be constant…yeah, Don Juan was supposed to be constant too. One can only hope that the Kodak film company designers who thought up the frequent changes in format and supply eventually shared the fate of the damned Don.

New mounts for camera lenses? Don’t mind if I do. It will be a boon for the adapter manufacturers in the end. And don’t get me started on systems for masks and filters for matte boxes. At least Photoshop put an end to that criminal trade. There are still injured victims throughout the world seeking to complete their collection of filters but it is hoped that merciful death with overtake them and they will fall silent.

Please. No-one raise the question of new raw formats for digital cameras. Have some decency. Go expose yourselves to subway crowds and leave us alone.

But don’t go yet. I’ve got this great idea for a left-handed system of polarising filters in colour that you must invest in…




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