At St Mary in the Castle: Cookman Collects

scan_20161119Exhibited as a memorial to the man whose mania for collecting brought all these cameras together ‘Cookman Collects’ is a diverting look at the many shapes and sizes cameras have come in over the past century or so. Yes, the first camera whose shutter I ever depressed is there (a Pentax ME Super, although dad’s was silver not black) but then so are many, many others.

We have early box cameras, twin-lenses of varying complexity and selections with their bellows out, eager. But we also come to the end days of film photography with a point and shoot Canon, a T90 and some from the later Nikon F series. Some are immaculate, some are not. All are presented without fanfare. Shelf after shelf. So many cameras, so many stories. There are also lenses, lens caps, boxes, camera bags and other paraphernalia.  If only they’d added rolls of film or boxes of negatives there’s a good chance I’d have never left.

Others will want to look over this collection and see what can be recovered and re-used. There are enough guys out there using film who’d be interested in seeing what they can do with these cameras. But, seen together like this, this collection is a reminder that whilst we all know that photographs can be beautiful and inspiring we can sometimes forget that the machines that allow us to take those photos can be things of beauty in their own right too.

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