Those Good Old Analog Days

Day 24 - Kodak Brownie 127 Camera Watercolor - Doodlewash

Years ago, when I was a kid, photos had to be taken with an actual camera containing film and phones had cords on them. While it’s certainly convenient that these days we can just snap a picture with our phones, those old days of analog are still a really wonderful memory for me. This particular camera is actually from the late 50’s and is a Brownie 127 which ranks among the most popular cameras ever made by Kodak. Other models continued through the 60’s until the line was eventually discontinued. Putting a fresh roll of film in the camera, one would start winding and winding it until the little arrows appeared, then dots, and finally the coveted number “1” letting you know that’s it’s ready to take that first shot. It was quite a process to get to that first photo back then. And even after shooting an entire roll of film, there was no immediate gratification as you had to wait for the film to be developed to see what appeared there. That was all part of the lovely experience. Reliving each moment again together much later with those little physical trophies of that awesome family trip you’d just enjoyed.

I’ve always loved photography and used to enjoy working in a dark room during college and developing my own photos. It was strange and almost creepy being in a room with just a red light, peering through the enlarger to get just the right crop. The smell was intoxicating in a literal way, versus the more pleasant form of the word. It truly stunk, but dunking those white sheets of paper into the tubs of liquid and watching as an image slowly formed there was amazing. It’s not terribly different than watching pools of watercolor swirl about on paper and waiting to see what happens as the paint begins to dry. I loved photography for this, but when it became fully digital I began to lose interest a bit, with those various attempts at trying analog once more. But without a darkroom, I felt like I was missing the fun part. My first blog was a photoblog called Always Curious, and I’ve donated every photo from that one to this one in the form of free reference photos for artists and writers.

These days, you’ll of course, find me painting with watercolor instead. It’s a joy to be once again staring at a blank sheet of paper waiting for that image to appear. And though some people plan out their paintings, mine are always a bit of a surprise to even me. I just jump in and start sketching and then grab a brush and race to the finish. This is partly due to my notorious impatience, but it’s also because I just think it’s really fun that way. No pressure about “messing up” or fear of “ruining a great sketch.” I don’t stop long enough to judge if the sketch is actually any good at all. When it comes to daily practice, I think this is an important approach. There’s plenty of time to judge the work after the fact, but getting lost in the process is key to always enjoying it. I would be terrified to sketch each day if I thought everything had to be perfect or turn out in a particular way. So, instead, I approach it like did my photography years ago. By simply getting lost in act of making images and then watching the memories develop on paper like those good old analog days.

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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo. Photo Reference: Leif SkandsenLamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 24 - Kodak Brownie 127 Camera Watercolor - Doodlewash

 

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

24 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    Ah, what a treasure trove of photos! I know where I’ll be getting some references from in the near future! Thank you Charlie, for both the lovely ramble and the photos.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, there’s so much on Doodlewash now, I wasn’t sure if everyone knew about those, so I figured I’d mention them again!

  2. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Love that brownie camera and thank you for the wonderful photos!. I always enjoyed watching that image appear and had my own darkroom for awhile. Love my watercolors but will always have a camera of some sort handy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕That’s so cool you had a darkroom as well. I think it’s the best photography experience there is. Feel so much more hands on!

  3. smzang 4 weeks ago

    Charlie,

    I love this. I had a brownie hawkeye. I couldn’t remember what it cost, but I googled and see that it cost 5 dollars without the flash attachment and 7 dollars with the big
    round flash that took the egg shaped bulbs. I just learned that it was manufactured in
    France (small world). That was a beautiful time of life. thank you again!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕Oh my gosh yes! That flash attachment was gigantic! lol And yay that it was made in France. The world is definitely smaller than we ever give it credit for.

  4. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    I miss the analog days, especially when it comes to photos. One was more selective in deciding what to shoot, and each of 24 or 36 photos was something to treasure. Today, with thousands of pics, I get lost in the sorting and reviewing. Sometimes, less is more.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      So true!! 😃💕 We really thought about each and every shot back then. Only the important bits were captured that might create a memory. These days, it’s an endless supply of clicking with no thought about curation. We were all curators back then. 😉

  5. SnehLata Maheshwari 4 weeks ago

    Thanks Charlie to reminding me the kodak.
    Pa had.loved the images.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      These were such cool cameras! 😃💕 Loved those days, when making photos felt like you were actually involved in the process in some way.

  6. June Hadaway 4 weeks ago

    That camera looks like I could just pick it up and snap a photo! Really good and looks so real. Thank you for all the pictures. You really have an assortment of interesting shots.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕And so happy you enjoyed the photos… it was fun to move my old blog onto this one in some way.

  7. June Hadaway 4 weeks ago

    I finally ordered the Lamy Al-star Safari fountain pen you recommended in your shop from Amazon. Waiting until Monday for it to arrive is really hard!! 😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Oh yay!! I’m so excited for you! hehe! 😃💕Love this pen. I hope you love it as well. Let me know what you think!

  8. memadtwo 4 weeks ago

    I remember those cameras. We have lost the ability to wait. A trade off for sure (I’m certainly glad to get instant images of my art!). (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Hehe… so true! I DO love the immediate gratification that comes with life today, but have to wonder if we’ve lost a bit along the way. 😉

  9. Lisa 4 weeks ago

    I used a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye when I started. When I got my Olympus I went wild. Now I use a Canon, and a bitty Nikon. I should dig the Brownie out and see if there is film available somewhere for it. That would be a nice circle. Your flower photos especially are similar to mine. Get up close!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Yay!! I hope you do get that Brownie back out again, Lisa! 😃💕 And yeah… I’m a macro kind of guy. hehe.. I think it’s the same in my watercolors. I love the details.

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 weeks ago

    What a wonderful camera this is, Charlie – the luxe of Brownies. Mine was an inexpensive but much loved box camera and looked just like a shoe box. I took lots of photos, all of them black and white and out of focus. Remember the scalloped edges and the black corners we used to attach the photos to scrap books? You might be too young. What fun we had back when a photo was a real treasure. You did a great painting job here.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Awesome memories! 😃💕 I remember the scrapbooks with those photos. They all had so much more character than what we see today. Life is only high definition in the experience itself. 😉

  11. Frances Turano 4 weeks ago

    Happy Sunday, Charlie! I was a wedding photographer for 25 years. And the 35mm camera I used to shoot with had the wind-up feature as well. It was always scary if the film had been loaded properly by me, and until the photos were developed by a professional developer, I held my breath. (and once I even FORGOT to load the film and wondered why my camera showed 41 pictures had been taken!) Fortunately, I covered well, and re-shot them, but so scary were those days.

    Your camera blog was a wonderful (I think) stroll down memory lane, bringing back all of the lovely brides and grooms of the day. But the fear never left me at each and every wedding, and I became OCD about it for years after the no film fiasco).

    Thanks for another fun article, Charlie!
    Fanna Turano
    Denver, CO

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Fanna! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this one. Yeah, those days were fun and equally terrifying. Loading film properly was always a fear of mine too! hehe… I never even took photos professionally. Can’t imagine what that must have been like! Yikes!

  12. photoscientist 4 weeks ago

    I would really like to get a hold of one of the original cameras that had the accordion like body. And when the picture was taken, there was an explosion of noise and white smoke.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Oh wow!! Me too! I love those cameras! 😃💕 I actually found and considered buying one on eBay once. But never did!

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