Tuesday, April 04, 2006

When You're Strange... Faces Come Out Of The...

The Minolta Autocord was a unique camera amongst the plethora of twin lens reflexes that were on the market in the 50's and 60's. Best of all was the $99.95 list price, but you could pick up used ones for about $40 no problem. Buy a few rolls of film and perhaps get a free Rollei bayonet I hood thrown in. What was so great about the Autocord? Well, the film went top to bottom so it wasn't sitting with a right angle bend in it between exposures, sometimes for days. It was the exposed film that got the bend. Then it had a little focussing lever under the lens panel that you could work with either hand, even judge distance by where it was, very handy back in the days of setting a manual flash, or getting approximate focus when using the sportsfinder at eye level.

What really set it apart was the ease with which you could make a double exposure when the mood struck you. Just move a little button back with your thumb as you wound the advance lever backwards a full turn. The film didn't move but the shutter was cocked.

In 1968 I was shooting some portraits of this young lady, side lit by diffused window light. I suggested doing some nudes, or at least from the waist up. June said that she didn't want her nipples to show. I kiddingly suggested hiding them behind some black Scotch Photographic Masking Tape that was handy. Surprisingy she said "Sure!". That accounts for the two black X's. I shot several double exposed variations of her face and her hands crossed over her belly. This is one of them. Within a few years I lost touch with June, and I sold the Autocord about 5 years ago, but since then I picked up another 'cord at a yard sale. It looks a bit rough but works perfectly.


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