What inspired you to start this project and take portraits of cameras?
Valdormar: When I turned 39, the thought came to me, why not take real nice portraits of the cameras that I use and enjoy. I was sure there would be others that would enjoy them as much as I do. I also wanted to include a few photos taken with these cameras, so you could have a nice reference to look at, so if you where thinking of buying a camera you could look and see the quality and style of photo that one could get out of these cameras.
I have two big reasons, one is my wife, I love taking an old camera and photographing my beautiful wife. When I develop the image I can see the real beauty the camera can capture. I have been told that I could get a good photo from a “barbie cam” but my secret is my beautiful wife. It’s hard to take a bad photo of my lady. The second reason would be my boys, so in years to come they can see what Dad was involved with and see some of the things that dad liked at this time in our lives. An enjoyable reference of some new and some old things.
What fascinates you the most about old cameras?
Valdormar: I’m not sure why I like old cameras, they just tell a story, some have an energy about them, some are just dead with no life at all. Each camera is so different. I think what fascinates me about old cameras is their history. Not just the time in which they where made but the history of when they were being used. Who used you? Why did they use you? What have you photographed? And so on.
Why do you like seeing them repaired and cleaned up?
Valdormar: I love getting an old dirty, half working camera that has not been held nor used in many years. I take that old camera and try to bring that energy back that it once had. I take that old camera that no one wants, I repair it, I clean it, and once again it stands on its own. Once again doing what it was made to do. Capture a memory of time for someone to enjoy for the rest of their life.
Have you always had a passion for cameras or is this something new for you?
Valdormar: I fell in love with cameras as a young child. With a camera you could capture a perfect beautiful moment that you could have to look at when times were not so perfect and beautiful. I could see with my own eyes what happy was, even when I was not in happy times.
How long did it take for you to acquire all of these cameras and restore them?
Valdormar: I started buying my dream cameras years ago. Both for my personal use and bringing them back to life. The project concept came later on in 2014.
When did you start collecting cameras? What was the first camera that you repaired?
Valdormar: I do not collect cameras, I’m not a camera collector. In 1984 I repaired my little keychain pocket 110 camera. I was like 9 years old and something went wrong with the shutter. I took it apart with my uncle’s double edge razor blade that he shaved with. I found the issue and fixed the shutter. It never broke again.
What is the difference between a camera collector and someone like you?
Valdormar: A camera collector to me is someone who buys cameras to set around and look at. Most vintage camera collectors that I know use digital cameras to take photos. They never use old film cameras they buy. I use every camera that I own. If I don’t use it, I don’t keep it. It would drive me crazy to have a camera that I never used. I don’t mean “I use it once every year, or once or twice in 10 years” I use my cameras every month, every week, and even daily. I call myself a “Camera User”
Did the cameras look this good when you bought them?
Valdormar: No, I tear them apart, clean and repair them. I try to make them look as good as they want to look. I do not mind using a camera with wear marks. It’s all part of the cameras history. A camera is only as good as it functions. Looks are just cosmetic. So many people discard old cameras due to their appearance. They tend to overlook how that old camera might function. That is a real shame.
What are your goals and vision for the Camera Portrait Project?
Valdormar: I would like to see the Camera Portrait Project continue to grow and develop. I would love for it to develop in the way that I could travel to someones home and take a portrait of their most loved camera, and get their personal story as to why they fell in love with that certain camera.
Are you always searching for cameras?
Valdormar: No, I have found all the cameras that I ever wanted personally. Well almost!! The truth is, the search never stops, you can always find an old friend in need. I’m here to help if and when I can.
Want to get in contact with Valdormar? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
him at (503) 468-6820