I currently have a very large collection of vintage cameras — I believe almost 40 in total. I first became interested in photography after my Dad bought me a tiny Beirette 35mm camera from a car boot sale for £1. It’s a fairly simple little camera, but I was so interested to learn more about how it worked and was excited to start to take my first 35mm photos with it. Since then, I have never been able to resist buying more vintage cameras. My collection includes such a massive range of cameras — I have some early box brownie cameras, polaroids, SLRs and everything in between!
Some of my favourite cameras include my iconic Polaroid 1000, a rare Hungarian Fotobox camera, the couple of Soviet SLRs which my friend bought me as gifts from Russia. Not only is it great fun to take photos with these cameras, I think they're also beautiful well-designed objects — much nicer than the boring black modern cameras which have become the standard.
For ages I had all my cameras in boxes and would just take them out when I wanted to use them, but I decided that they’re just too beautiful to keep hidden away! I now have a gorgeous blue display cabinet which I keep all my cameras in, and it’s my absolute favourite thing in my room.
My vintage camera obsession encouraged me to take up photography seriously, and so at sixth form I decided to study A-level photography. It was wonderful to learn more about cameras, how to properly use them, and how to develop my own films in the darkroom. In fact, my vintage cameras featured in a lot of my work, including a project about obsession and collections. I enjoyed the course so much, and I'm still a keen photographer now – at university I work as a photographer at balls, dinners, and theatre productions.
If you're interested in starting your own vintage camera collection, I would encourage you to look around charity shops and car boot sales, and you can pick up some absolute gems very cheaply. I don't think I have ever paid more than £10 for a vintage camera, so collecting them is a very sustainable hobby, and you can get so much fun out of using them and seeing the beautiful photos you can take.