Soldier photographers would capture the day-to-day routine of military life. By Caroline Scott Historian and Author. The Great War was the first conflict that would be comprehensively documented by amateur photographers. While professional lenses had captured scenes from the Crimean and the American Civil War, this was the first time that large numbers of serving men took cameras into the frontlines and made a visual record of their own experiences. Camera technology had advanced quickly in the years prior to the First World War and photography had shifted from a specialised interest to a mass-market craze.
As soon as war broke out, camera manufactures targeted their advertising squarely at that market. The press would encourage this trend too. A new type of popular daily newspaper had emerged in Britain in the years before the First World War, which made extensive use of photography. These papers now wanted to publish images of the war, and with press photographers denied access to the conflict zone, they appealed directly to their readers in the forces. Soldier photographers would capture the day-to-day routine of military life their pictures were often comradely and comic , but also significant moments of history.
The military authorities had tried to play down these incidents, but with the emergence of photographic evidence, anecdotes were corroborated and public interest swelled. In reality, soldier photographers rarely actually made much money from having their pictures published in the press, but there was pride to be had here too, and the urge to share images and earn acknowledgement for them long predates camera phones and Instagram. By March the military authorities had had enough.
There was a fear that intelligence could be picked up by the enemy, but also concern about how these uncensored images might influence the public mood. Many men reluctantly complied — but by no means all. Tolerance seems to have varied according to the attitude of the commanding officer, and with many of the keenest photographers actually being officers, they found ways to continue.
A craze was born. Now, ordinary people did not have to rely on professional studios or offcial photographers as a means of recording their lives and the lives of those around them. They could do it for themselves. And so they did, in their thousands, with many soldiers among them. Packing their VPKs, they marched off to war. They had no idea where they were going or what fate awaited them, but they would document their days and snap their deeds along the way.
Thousands of the light portable cameras made their way to Europe during the First World War. The result was a smaller, more compact and lighter camera. The VPK — an icon of form, function and visual democracy — was born. It was an immediate hit with amateur photographers in the US and abroad who were looking for compact, portable and easy-to-operate cameras that represented excellent value for money. The VPK revolutionised the possibilities and scope of amateur photographers worldwide and contributed to what became almost a craze in Europe in the two years prior to the outbreak of the First World War.
By , yearly sales of the VPK in Britain reached 5, When war broke out in August , hundreds of British soldiers took their VPKs to France in what many expected to be a short but glorious war of adventure. Their hope was to capture on film, for posterity, their part in what they sensed would be the greatest test of their lives, just as they had snapped their escapades on holiday in peacetime. Understandably, given such an existential crisis, the popularity of the amateur photography craze amongst the soldiery was not a high priority at the War Office, and the wisdom of soldiers taking their own cameras to the front was never questioned.
With no-one checking on the numbers of cameras carried — more often than not by officers — or the content of any photographs taken, the men of the British Expeditionary Force began snapping away immediately, charting every twist and turn of the embarkation, the channel crossing, the march to the front and eventually the fighting.
Tags: lens , weird-lens , wwi. View Comments Comments All Ching-Kuang Shene Sorry. SmoothOperator Was that one of the radio active lenses? Kodak was well known for using thorium. Igor Freeke Wonderful homage to the engineers from the beginning of the 20th century. Well done. VinceC Fantastic!
Biowizard Considering its age and lack of coatings, the image quality was superb. Albert Valentino Shows how a simple design can do the job and last. Tungsten Nordstein Possibly, the worst of both worlds, I suspect. But entertaining, clever and ingenious. S Yu The fuss is part of the point. Tungsten Nordstein S Yu I can understand that. I use film myself.
This is great fun! W3PYF You make your own using helical mounts and extension tubes, to match the lens-to-film-plane distance of the original. Just being honest. JackM there is clearly some stabilization. Roland Karlsson Yes, relying on stabilization equals fail. Kung Fu Soft. BlueJakester That is just totally cool! I love stories like this. Under The Sun Very nice colors. I really love how gentle the lens renders its image. Great video.
DarnGoodPhotos I agree. Aegon Targaryen Lol, with some of the hater comments so far, I'm waiting for someone to gripe that it doesn't have optical stabilization. DarnGoodPhotos Four comments above yours. Aegon Targaryen D'oh! Aegon Targaryen Wow! Distinctive color. I love it! Chris59 Surprisingly sharp, but not unexpectedly, with a lot of flare. Roland Karlsson Yes - the flare. Chris59 Hmmm, flare with flair S Yu Yeah I'm really impressed by the flare, I thought it would be much more irregular, the lens may have been in mint condition.
Slouch Hooligan To be fair, it does cost a bit less. XXTwnz "Bit less" is a tiny bit of playing down that price difference. Thanks for sharing your grasp of the obvious!! Starflash Astoundingly fine images. Roland Karlsson Nice. The lens is surprisingly sharp. And the result is charming. Roland Karlsson This camera had film which is 4x6 cm. Roland Karlsson This lens has too long focal length. Kipplemaster It certainly looks cooler in the front-on pic than in profile! Akpinxit well Chris59 I'm guessing he didn't want to destroy the camera and it wouldn't have changed the images in any way.
GrapeJam IMO honestly this looks pretty bad XXTwnz mgblack Weasel Nice video Snapper Very reminiscent to modern day Leica lenses Wow! MamiyaMax Seems you have a Leica envy issue deep down. Snapper I love Leica gear! Lightright The images look dreamy and nostalgic as if they are pulled out straight from your childhood memories. Akpinxit make sure not to rub this diamond for it will fall apart S Yu You know interestingly the uncoated Cosina don't have this color, so as I thought you can't just replicate a vintage lens look by not coating the air surfaces, you need genuine old glass.
Lightright S Yu. S Yu Actually you do realize what I'm saying is that the colors from this lens at least from the video is better than uncoated Cosina? Lightright S Yu, I did not disagree. S Yu I see Mattersburger How did you manage to shoot inside the galleries at the Belvedere?
PDL Probably like I did in You do know that you can perform due diligence all by yourself these days - don't you? DejayRezme Corners are soft ;. Lightright Just like the human eyes, it probably has cataract as it aged. XXTwnz Lightright, more like no one could tell one way or the other back then or cared. Simon97 Adapting old glass is part of the fun of mirrorless. Has an old Kodak look for sure. But, a softness. A great look. But why does that make a difference? Yake Nikon F and Leica M mount are even older.
And who cares? S Yu I noticed that one major advantage of the new larger mirrorless mounts is that they adapt X-ray lenses better, these are incredibly fast don't mind the sharpness but they're so large and sit so close to the sensor that E-mount sometimes gets in the way of infinity focus. Kinematic Digit Lovely story, and beautiful storytelling with a lens with a whole lot of character. MirrorLessHater Sony E-mount is the most versatile mount ever created in the history of photography, Hands down.
Yake Oh yes Tourlou Nikon retains full function with unchipped lenses. This is quite Ztupid Akpinxit it feels like some people wax and polish their cameras instead of taking pictures. Tourlou Hey, what about Pentax? K-mount: K stands for kick-ass!!! MrBrightSide The most versatile mount is a blank lens board for a large format camera. You may also like. Sigma to release a new 'DN' lens for mirrorless camera systems via livestream on December 1. Tokina unveils 23mm and 33mm F1.
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Slideshow: Winners and finalists of the Ocean Photographer of the Year awards. Best gifts for photographers in Nov 22, Nov 21, Nov 21, 49 video. Nov 20, 82 video. Nov 20, lens news. Nikon teases upcoming super telephoto lenses, 50mm prime with an updated lens road map. Buying guide: The best gifts for film photographers in Nov 20, Chroma Cameras' camera system turns medium format modular.
Nov 19, X-tra promises a fresh take on the conventional camera battery with its innovative offering. Canon releases mostly minor firmware updates for five cameras and its RF 50mm F1. Nov 19, 84 camera news. Zeiss ZX1 initial review. Nov 19, first impressions.
Nov 19, sample gallery. Nik celebrates its 25th anniversary with new presets in Nik Collection 3 by DxO. Nov 18, Nov 18, lens news. Nov 18, 58 video. Nov 18, 14 sample gallery. Nov 17, LumaFusion gets bit HDR video editing, exporting and more in its 2. Nov 17, 23 video. Tips or suggestions? Contact us! Mobile site. There was a fear that intelligence could be picked up by the enemy, but also concern about how these uncensored images might influence the public mood.
Many men reluctantly complied — but by no means all. Tolerance seems to have varied according to the attitude of the commanding officer, and with many of the keenest photographers actually being officers, they found ways to continue. Just as amateur photography was being proscribed, so cameras were finding a new purpose in the war. As well as friendships, photography would now capture loss. With casualty lists lengthening, and repatriation of bodies ruled out, some system was needed to record and maintain cemeteries.
The Graves Registration Commission was established in March to perform this role and, from May of that year, it also offered a photographic service. In response to requests from bereaved families, the Commission would provide a photograph of a grave. Letters from the public to the Commission indicate the importance of this service. I thank you very kindly for sending them, and I think they are very nice; it gives us an idea of what the grave is like — that is all I shall ever see of it.
Thanking you again. From his loving mother. Some , photographs of graves would ultimately be taken and dispatched. But by funding for this service was running out, and it was announced that no further requests for photographs could be accepted. From the early s a number of companies, most of them established and staffed by ex-servicemen, were photographing war graves. Many veterans returned to France and Flanders through the s and s.
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|Real estate investment london ontario||Photograph albums would be consigned to attics in the years that followed, hidden away along with the memories, but many have emerged in recent times, and their images have been published in the press and online. People who are not journalists often photograph incidents in areas of conflict and post them on Twitter. Before the Great Depression. W3PYF You make your own using helical mounts and extension tubes, to match the lens-to-film-plane distance of the original. Nov 18, 14 sample gallery. A great look. I thank you very kindly for sending them, and I think they are very nice; it gives us an idea of what the grave is like — that is all I shall ever see of it.|
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