Every picture has a back story.

Once upon a time, in the mid-1950s, my grandfather bought an Argus C3 camera, known as “The Brick”.  My uncle share’s his memories of the camera in the comments in this Sanslartigue post from 2011.

Grandpa used it until 1974, or so.  As far as I know, it sat unused until 1991 when my first wife and I bought my grandparent’s house in the Westmoreland neighborhood of Portland, and discovered not only the Argus, but a Walzflex twin lens camera, a questionable light meter, 3 boxes of family photos, and 6 steel file boxes with 2000 slides he took with the Argus. A small sample of the slides have shown up on Sanslartigue.

Plus a slide projector and screen! Hot summer night slide shows are one of my fondest memories of visiting Portland.

And a single role of expired, unused (use before 1991) Kodak black and white Plus-X Pan 125 film.  I have no evidence that he ever shot 35mm black and white, so have no idea why he had the roll.

I want to shoot that roll of film in the Argus, but I’m still not sure what to shoot!  To prepare for that adventure, I decided it best to see if the Argus still worked.  Several weeks ago I bought a roll of Ilford HP5 black and white film and Kodak Portra 160 color film to see what would happen.  Armed with a light meter app on my phone, I set out on 2 different days.  For the rest of the week I’ll be sharing the results.

13 thoughts on “Every picture has a back story.

  1. Great story. I remember my dad’s Leica camera on which he took thousands of slides over the years and he gave to me. You had to use a light meter, adjust the f-stop, lens speed and distance for every shot, but this marvelous example of craftsmanship took some great pictures.

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  2. I think I had a camera like that when I was a kid. I know I had an Argus of some kind, and that brick looks very familiar. I do have a love for those old forgotten workhorse cameras.

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  3. HaHa, what fun, I have used that camera before when I was young (I’m 73 now ) but my first serious camera was a used Nikon F, 1967, I used to shoot Tri-X (at 800 or 1250 ASA) Plus -X was slower and finer -125 ASA , never used the light meter, digital cannot get the Tri-X feel, develop in the bathroom and learned darkroom from an 85 year old graphic designer who worked on the F.L. Wright Falilngwater house photos. Still, digital is great because there are no chemicals and no dust. I look forward to see your grandfather’s images, what did he think was important ?

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  4. Most of his photos were travel photos. Lots of family. If you click on the highlighted links above you can see some of his shots that I’ve posted previously.

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