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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Camera Craft: 1938

Camera Craft: 1938

April 1, 1938. San Francisco. "Camera Craft store, 425 Bush Street. Mr. E.R. Young." 8x10 inch acetate negative by Moulin Studios. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Interesting location.

The location of this business would later become the location of KFRC, the legendary San Francisco radio station of the 60's and 70's.

Camera in "The Kodak Letter" ad

The camera in the "Kodak Letter" poster from 1918 probably is
this one. It does look a bit like a cable modem when folded! I recall my granddad (who was just a bit too young for WW I) had something like this when I was small. It was fascinating.

[However, many Kodak folding cameras of the period looked like this when closed. -tterrace]

Popular Photography 1937-2017

Camera Craft may still be publishing but Popular Photography (bottom of the magazine rack) just shut down.

The Kodak Letter

Curious about the "Kodak Letter" poster partly seen on the upper right, I found it was a 1918 magazine ad encouraging people to send photos to their soldiers "over there" in WWI. So it was already a vintage poster (and camera) in 1938.

[Good work. I was wondering about that thing that looks like an antique cable modem! - Dave]

Clamp lights

Still unchanged after almost 80 years!

Camera Craft

Still being published. Or rather being published again.

Where's the 'Phone?

It's at the rear of the store, attached to a set of shelves. It appears to be a Western Electric Model 211 Spacesaver, and in this store that really is a plus.

When I was 12 my father gave me an Australian Kodak contact print set to make my own photos. It included a safe light, developing tank, trays, paper and chemicals to learn photo processing and printing. I later belonged to a camera club at school, and as an adult acquired an enlarger. I made my own prints in B&W for many years, but never graduated to colour. The enlarger resides in my attic since I went digital. I can now scan my old B&W negatives, and process them on my computer without all the liquids, fumes, etc. But I do miss the experience of visiting the camera store to stock up on supplies.

Camera stores!

Isn't it odd that the photo hobby has changed so much? In my area, I would visit Penn Camera, Ritz Camera, and Industrial Photo every week. Didn't need anything. Just hanging out with my friends who worked there and messing around.

Days gone by. I used to love hanging around typewriter and watch repair shops, too. Chatting with folks with specialized, exact knowledge and geeking out.

Those days were such fun.

Brand New

That looks like my Solar brand enlarger head behind the Popular Photography mag.

A Dearth of Cameras

For a camera store I certainly don't see many.

[Camera Craft was a publishing company. -Dave]

Champlin On Fine Grain

By Harry Champlin, published by Camera Craft Publishing Company in San Francisco in 1937. A September 1981 article in Popular Photography noted that Champlin “took a dim view” of the future of 35mm film since it was too small for “the exacting demands of commercial photography and newspaper work.” He predicted 70mm as the new standard.

Looks familiar

This looks pretty much identical to any of the many Embarcadero photo stores I recall seeing during my visits there. But no doubt lacking the ridiculous markups and high-pressure salesmen of the more recent establishments.

A professional and hobbyist dream

This must be the most exciting camera store I have seen. So many periodicals. Looks like a hobby I would totally take up. Photography today means a smartphone app and a YouTube "how-to" video. Not nearly as interesting at all.

Elementary Photography

Thoroughly Stimulating, Expertly Written. For the Student, the Club Member, and the Amateur Photographer. By C.B. Neblette, Frederick W. Brehm, and Everett L. Priest (Macmillan, 1936). Under glass on the left, and in the middle bookshelf on the right, under the heading Latest Photographic Publications.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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