A collector of old photography equipment had an unexpected bonus when he purchased an antique stereoscopic camera – unique images of WWI France, which he has now posted on his website.
Many antique bookcases in Lancashire have books about the First World War on their shelves, often containing rare images of the period. However, vintage photography specialist Anton Orlov got more than he bargained for when he visited an antique store. The shop, which was piled high with Victorian dining chairs and other trinkets, had recently taken possession of a large consignment from a photographer’s estate, and was a treasure trove of cameras, lenses and other equipment. Sadly, much of it was beyond repair, but one item which caught Orlov’s eye was a Jumelle Belllieni stereoscopic camera.
Made for a short time at the turn of the last century, the camera was a lucky enough find on its own, but as he set about Restoring it Orlov discovered something even more important – a hidden stack of undeveloped negative plates, containing never-before-seen images taken on the battlefields of WWI France.
The eight moving, historically important photographs can now be seen on Orlov’s blog, The Photo Palace. Even a Victorian mahogany pedestal desk can be damaged by sunlight, so it is amazing they even survived. Orlov said he had found undeveloped plates before, but added:
“It would be a very slim chance of getting anything usable from them.”
People interested in vintage photography in Cumbria will find an antique bookcase from a local antique dealer the perfect place to store books about the subject.
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