Search graduate:

Jaspar Jõhvik

  • Faculty of Art and Culture
  • Cultural Heritage and Conservation
  • BA
  • Early 20th Century Estonian Kamra-e-faoree Conservation
  • Tutor: MA, Tiina Sakermaa, BA, Tanel Verk
  • Object dimensions: 375 x 215 x 305 mm

Instant street photography reached Estonia at the beginning of the 20th century and it gathered a lot of popularity among Estonians. The speciality of that kind of camera was that the customer received the photo almost immediately and it did not take more than five minutes. A mini-photo lab was built into the camera box. The development process took place on site, without intermediate washing: development and fixation took place in small baths located inside the camera box. With such devices, instant photographers could be found almost everywhere: at fairs, exhibitions, streets, etc. In folklore they were called as “black-box men”.

Kamra-e-faoree before conservation. (view 1)
Kamra-e-faoree before conservation. (view 2)

The conserved instant photo camera was found in Tartu, at Ludvig Puusepa street 19. The owner of this camera is unknown. It is a rare engineering-technical working mechanism. In addition to the usual built-in miniature photo lab, there is also a built-in enlarger. This solution is unique compared to its analogues. High-quality photo enlargement was performed from glass plate negative to photo paper.

The object has stayed in poor conditions for a long time (found in shed).

Wood damages.
Corrosion on the metal parts.

Eleven remaining original photographic plates (which were used as negatives) were found inside of the camera.

Eleven remaining original photographic plates.

During the various stages of conservation work, an attempt was made to follow the principle of reversibility and to use methods that were as unobtrusive as possible. The aim of the conservation work was to ensure the long-term preservation of the kamra-e-faoree, to achieve a more aesthetical appearance and to ensure its exhibitability.