With their geometric mechanisms and nostalgic plastic encasing, adding antique cameras to your home is the perfect way to incorporate a vintage motif in your living space and display your passion for photography.
While instant cameras or even film-based cameras aren’t likely to make a major comeback, their cultural impact lingers. The roaring popularity of Instagram might speak to culture of people who want to simultaneously preserve life’s special moments while showing an appreciation for the history of film.
And while you might be able to achieve a similar effect with antique typewriters, lamps, telephones, radios, clocks or other classic gadgets, there’s something about vintage cameras that strikes a warming balance between retro and homely.
Collecting vintage cameras can be an experience all in itself, if that’s what you choose to make out of it. The way you display your cameras, collect them and delve into their history are both important parts of the hobby.
I picked all of the cameras pictured above at various thrift stores and garage sales in my area for about $3 to $10 each. If there aren’t any good thrift stores in your area, most of these cameras can usually be purchased on eBay shipped for affordable prices.
When you’re looking for an antique camera, keep in mind the general atmosphere of the room where you plan to display it. Chances are you’ll want a camera with a color, shape, style and size that compliments your living space.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some of the most stylish cameras and my personal favorites:
• Polaroid Automatic 103, 210, and 220
• Pentax K1000
• Canon AE-1
• Polaroid Electric Eye 900
• Yashica-Mat LM
• Kodak Super 8
• Polaroid SX-70
Various vintage cameras can be utilized for practical functions as well. For example, some of the hefty, metal cameras can be effectively used as bookends, such as the Polaroid Electric Eye land camera. Mix and match different camera types to bring a more unique style to your bookshelf.
If you’re a more passionate film hobbyist, you may want to consider displaying your cameras directly on the wall. Pair your antique camera with an old picture frame and use Command tape (which you can find at most home improvement stores) to hang them.
You may even consider hallowing a camera out to use as a desk container for your office supplies if you’re handy. This kind of thrifty re-purposing may seem daunting initially, but with it’s easy grow more crafty with your thrift store pick-ups with practice.
Whether you’re looking for a new hobby or you just want a neat conversation piece in your new apartment, decorating with retro cameras is an artsy and addictive pastime that lets you celebrate the century-long evolution of one of the most beloved gadgets in history.