Famous Expeditions and Cameras

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by matthew_vortex, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. All,
    It's always rewarding to see an iconic photo from a historical expedition, and then know that you've used/worked on/seen the type of camera it was captured with. [Or need to buy one :)]. Would the group provide feedback on known examples?
    For example;
    Sir Edmund Hillary photographed Tenzig Norgay atop Everest on their first ascent with a Kodak Retina Type 118.
    Hiram Bingham photographed Machu Picchu with a Kodak 3A Special upon initial discovery and Kodak Panoramics specifically requested from George Eastman on subsequent extra expeditions.
    John Glenn took an Ansco Autoset on his first orbital space flight which he had personally purchased from a Cocoa Beach drugstore.
    9 out of 10 official photos from Admiral Byrd's polar expedition were taken with Graflexes including the Model D.
    Thor Heyerdahl took a Leica Screwmount on the Kon-Tiki voyage although I can't find which model. It had slow speeds.

    Maybe things like Dorothea Lange using a model D as well, but not so much things like "Ansel used LF/Hasselblad" or "Weegee used a B&J."

    Thanks in advance.
  2. The most famous Everest expedition camera is probably the lost Vest Pocket Kodak camera of Mallory and Irvine on their 1924 expedition. On June 8, 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine left their camp less than a kilometer from the summit of Mount Everest determined to be the first mountaineers to ascend Everest. They were never to be heard from again. Although Mallory's body was recovered in 1999, he did not have the camera. The hope is that recovery of Irvine's body would also find the missing camera and finally resolve the question as to whom first climbed Everest.

    See: Historical Development: Could a Frozen Camera Dethrone Hillary and Norgay as the First to Summit Everest?
    • John T. Daniels photographed the first Wright flight with a Gundlach Korona 5×7-inch glass plate view camera belonging to the Wrights.​
    • NC-Outer-Banks_20130515_0228-Kitty-Hawk-e.jpg
    • (in bronze even)​
    AJG and Charles_Webster like this.
  3. Whatever it is that Frank Hurley used to photograph Shackleton's amazing voyage of Endurance (see a picture of him, here). You may be able to figure out which it is from this link, described as "a Kodak square bellow field camera for large-format plates."
  4. Jacques Cousteau shot his first film, Ten Fathoms Down, in 1942, diving while holding his breath, using a Kinamo 35mm movie camera in a watertight case. Later, he co-invented the aqualung, and conceived the self-contained amphibious Calypso 35mm underwater film camera, which was designed by Jean de Wouters, and manufactured in France. The Nikon Nikonos underwater camera was the modern evolution of the Calypso. The first version of the Nikonos looks almost identical to the Calypso. Cousteau was not only an underwater explorer, but an inventor of much of the early equipment needed for the exploration.
  5. I found a couple of photos online that are apparently of the camera displayed in the Kon-Tiki museum. I had just posted (then deleted) that it was a IIIc (which would have been the latest model at the time of the Kon-Tiki voyage in 1947), but looking more closely I can see that it actually looks like a IIIf, not introduced until 1950. So unless he got an early prototype, he can't have used it in that form in 1947. He might have had it upgraded later, of course, or that might be a camera from one of his later expeditions (or, perish the thought, the wrong camera!). The serial number would tell us more.

    File:Kon-Tiki Thor Heyerdahl's Leica camera.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
    Thor Heyerdahl - Picture of The Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo - TripAdvisor
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  6. Here is an interesting NASA page about the NASA space program including how originally photography was an afterthought but soon became hugely significant. The modified Hasselblads of the Apollo series are probably the most famous.


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