Camera, creativity, Photography, Voigtlander

Voigtländer Perkeo

Yes, I’ve bought another ‘new’ old camera. A Voigtländer Perkeo.

I’ve been after one of these for a few years, but the prices on eBay are either too high, or the camera for sale doesn’t look in very good condition. Here I was extremely lucky: the camera is in perfect working order* and I got it for a song, and I managed to snaffle it before anyone else saw it.

£20 plus £2.80 postage – it’s a steal!

“But why Andrew? Why? Don’t you already have enough cameras?” I hear you cry. Well, a number of reasons:

  • It shoots medium format film**
  • It’s really quite small (Perkeo means ‘pigmy’) when folded up
  • It has a case (and the case is in really good condition)
  • It’s more sturdy than some of my other folding cameras
  • It has a better viewfinder than some of my folding cameras***
  • It has double-exposure prevention
  • I like to shoot square photos sometimes
  • I wanted one

This afternoon – it’s my day off, even though it is a Tuesday – I went the long way to the supermarket, a route taking me along the river Severn. I took the Perkeo, loaded with Fomapan 100 Black & White film, and reader, I shot it all****.

I took photos of Tudor-era buildings, a dragon, and a couple of bridges.

The film went in the post to get processed late afternoon, so assuming the shots come out ok, I’ll be posting them here within a week.

Original Voigtländer Perkeo Invoice from 1955

Original Voigtländer Perkeo Invoice from 1955 (I’ve blurred identifying information)

There is a small hatch inside the case lid, where I found this: the original invoice. I’ve blurred the name and address, but the writing’s so bad that probably wasn’t necessary*****.

£13 in 1955 had the purchasing power of about £325 in today’s money.

*It looks hardly used, except for some paint worn from the front edge and some chrome missing from the accessory shoe on the top

**120 (medium) film shoots negatives 6cm across, they capture an enormous amount of detail. It’s cheaper to shoot 35mm, but it’s nice to shoot some 120 as a treat.

***I have 3 cameras from late 30’s/early 40’s and the viewfinder is merely a frame to look through, no glass in it at all!

****The Perkeo takes twelve 6cm by 6cm shots, easy to take all 12 in a short space of time.

*****There is still a photography-related business at this address, called ‘Snappy Snaps’


The mysterious source of creativity

I admit to being baffled as to the source of my creativity. How I wish I did know its triggers; then I could turn it on (and off) like a tap!IMG_20121210_212446

Some days, my creative ideas flow like a fast stream in whose waters I wade, and with which I struggle to keep pace, but am delighted to feel its energy rippling and splashing as I step carefully, smiling and trying to keep my feet on a distractingly slippery, half-invisible surface.

Other times, it is as if I wander, frustrated, along the same riverbed now run dry: then my feet only feel the dusty, hard stones. Yes, I am steadier on those days, but the walk is lifeless: a functional, destination-directed path, rather than a journey-focused experience.

From conversations with others who love to create stories, music, poetry, art, songs, photography, gardens, and meals, I don’t think I’m alone in this ebb and flow. The metaphor of ideas as a flow (on a good day) or a dried-up void (on a bad one) is one much-used, so I’m not even being that creative in writing about it!

But oh, the joy when a theme shimmers into focus, or a rhyme becomes a stanza, or a line becomes a sketch, or or or…! Because (to me) the creativity ‘thing’ is indeed cumulative and multi-faceted, so once I have tapped into the flow, suddenly I am almost swimming in a rushing, energising flood of ideas and inter-related thoughts. I suppose this is when creativity becomes like a many-channelled delta, and the only challenge is to choose which channel to chase…and which, agonisingly, I must ignore this time.


Maybe the trick is just to try to make, something, anything, each day. Just make. Even the smallest thing. And if nothing substantial results, well, just get up next day, focus the energies, and – at some point – try again. Because sometimes the habit trips whichever switch, or pulls at whichever trigger is needed to get something creative out. And without that release, well…I’m not sure my mind would cope with all the other ‘stuff’ that follows us around in the maelstrom we call ‘daily life’.

Phew. I feel better already! Now where did I put that drawing pad…