A Mighty White 110 camera was the first camera I can remember having as a child. I’m 99% sure my brother and I got one in our stockings as children (although both he and my parents don’t remember this…!) I think you probably saved up the tokens on the side of the old bread bags and sent them off with a few quid to cover the postage. Either way, wherever it came from I think I was about ten years old or so. I don’t remember ever having film in it, just running around ‘shooting’ with it…shutter, wind it on, repeat…
It wasn’t until not long ago when these memories came back that I decided to try and hunt one down. My original one was long gone, one of those possessions that as a ten year old was a fad for maybe a few days. I started trying to find one, or at least find a picture of one online but all I could find was one tiny webpage that mentioned it. A photographer called Hannah Beatrice mentioned in her blog that she as well has a Mighty White 110 camera when she was a child. An she actually ran film through it…! I’ll let you read her story on it, it can be found here –
Still nothing else, not even a single photograph, until one day a favourite eBay search returned a listing advertising one for sale. Brilliant. It looked as I remembered and came still boxed with instructions. Mine for the sum all in of about £4. Although it wasn’t (presumably…) my actual one from my childhood, I felt that I had been reunited with something. The fact that I still cannot find a single picture of one on the internet started the idea for the Cameras project. (I’m going to rename the project at some point just so you know…)
This is rather bad in progress shot of the set up for photographing the camera. The whole series is intended to be studio lit with just the one flash head and bouncing the light onto the subject with a series of white and black reflector boards.
The white splurge you can probably just make out is the camera – like I say it is a micro camera! Above and to the left of the frame the main light is modified with a large softbox and like I say the light is then simply bounced around with boards. I say simply, working on your own it’s quite difficult to get everything positioned and you end up finding more and more ingenious ways of getting the boards to stay where you want them – gaffer tape and heavy duty clamps are you’re friends.
This is now the final image. There has been minimal retouching afterwards, just to remove a few bits of grime that age has given the beautiful white finish.
If you fancy having a go at something similar I have two pieces of advice –
- Enlist the help of an assistant! – as I said earlier it can be a real pain doing still life on your own.
- If it’s a camera you’re photographing, make sure you get a catchlight in the lens. Treat it like a portrait. If you shoot a portrait and the eyes don’t get a catchlight I always feel that they look ‘dead.’ The same can be said for the glass or plastic lens of a camera.
I love this image, and I cannot wait to actually run some 110 through it and see what kind of an image I can make with it. I have stockpiled 100 at home for when I get a chance to use it but exactly when that will be I am not sure yet. I’ll keep you posted though I promise.