Spring Sale at the Schoolhouse Antiques Mall

I am SO BEHIND on posting photos. I started a new job last month; my commute is twice as long as I’m used to (although largely on rural highways very light of traffic) AND I’ve been working a lot of overtime—I even came in for about 3 ½ hours on Sunday! I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, and I’m certainly not complaining about the money, but lately it feels like I barely have time for anything else.

Anyway, on Saturday I made time for the spring sale at the Old Schoolhouse Antiques Mall in the town of Washington, thus continuing my unbroken streak—I haven’t missed one of the biannual sales (there’s another one in October) since I moved to south Louisiana. For a couple of years there in the middle they were kind of crappy, but they seem to have bounced back. I’ve gotten some of my best vintage cameras there, including my Land Cameras, and this year did not disappoint:

Polaroid SX-70

The SX-70 was the only Land Camera I didn’t have at least one type of*, and one of just three cameras still on my must-own list. (The others are a Rollei 35 and a Fuji Natura Classica. I don’t count the Arguses or Kodak Brownies I buy when I come across them, because I collect those brands specifically.) I only paid $20 for it because it has the plastic rather than metal exterior, and because it hadn’t been cleaned and restored. But the seller—who was selling refurbished ones for $100, so he clearly knows Polaroids—assured me it worked, and I figured I could afford to trust him for $20. Those old leatherette patches just have to be scraped off, and the old adhesive soaked off with denatured alcohol, then I can either buy a die-cut skin or make my own. I’ve seen tutorials where people used materials like old wallpaper swatches, or leather patches cut out of vintage purses.

Hoodoo Oils

And this is the other thing I bought there, a Japanese lacquered corner shelf. Some of the lacquer has rubbed off on the edges, but it was only $12 and I’ve always had a fondness for all the kitschy stuff the GIs brought home after WWII. Cheap as it was, most of it is still better-made and more charming than the crap Ikea sells. I think it’s meant to hang in a wall corner, it’s got a metal hook, but standing it on the dresser creates 3 shelves instead of 2. Which makes it the perfect size to hold all of my condition oils, which previously had been scattered about—some of them were actually being kept in my underwear drawer!

*I also own a 95A, the 2nd model ever made and one that covers the earliest roll-film era; a 150, which covers the classic ‘50s-‘60s era (mine is a 1963); and several late-model hardshells.

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St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

Last weekend the weather was slightly less hot and humid than it had been for the past 10 days or so, so I went out shooting. I really don’t want to spend the entire summer cooped up indoors, so if we get the occasional weekend that isn’t totally unbearable–or raining, we get most of our rain in the summer here–I’m going to go somewhere. When Mom and I were cleaning out Granny’s apartment (before she died, when she was in the nursing home), I found a guidebook for Acadiana, which is comprised of 22 of the 64 parishes of Louisiana, stretching east to Cameron Parish and the Texas border, west to Lafourche Parish, and as far north as Ayoyelles Parish.  (We live basically smack in the middle of it.) I’ve bookmarked about 2 dozen pages, so I shouldn’t run out of ideas anytime soon.

Saturday I explored a little bit of St. Landry Parish, which is about an hour north of us. I’ve been there a couple of times, but mostly just to antique, and once to go to Evangeline Downs in Opelousas. Some of the parishes are tiny, or are basically just one town or city and some surrounding rural areas, but St. Landry is both fairly large and contains several towns and communities. In fact, it’s probably going to take at least another trip before I see everything that I want to. I like the area because it’s a little hilly, and reminds me a bit of the Bay Area. I miss the hills and mountains sometimes.

First I went to Arnaudville, which for the past several years has become something of an arts center for the area. There are several galleries and a lot of south Louisiana artists have studios there, and there’s even a place where people can take art classes. I mostly saw painting and sculpture, not much photography. But I did find some abandoned buildings to photograph!

PICT1183

Lots of black-eyed Susans blooming this year.

PICT1180

You see a lot of these rusty old arrow signs in the country around here. A lot of people run businesses out of their homes (or barns) in the rural south. I always wonder what they used to advertise.

As I was leaving town I saw a sign for Leonville, less than 10 miles away. Leonville is in my book, it’s a historic town that was founded by free people of color before the Civil War. Alas, there isn’t much to the town itself, other than a couple of gas stations and a convenience store, so I used the rest of my film up on the church and cemetery.

St. Leo the Great church

Interesting details on the stained glass.

I was too close to the town of Washington and my favorite antiques mall (the one inside the old schoolhouse) to resist swinging by, but I didn’t see anything I couldn’t live without. There was a pretty big stash of old Kodaks and Anscos in the gym, but most of them were pretty beat up.

There were a couple of Baby Brownies, but they were both broken. Even if I never use the camera due to the difficulty in obtaining 127 film (there’s one company in Croatia that still makes it, and a few boutique sellers who wrap their own onto salvaged spools and custom-made backing paper), I’d still want it to work.

There was a Kodak Tourist that was in perfect condition, but I don’t really need another 620 folding camera. Still, it was marked down from $45 to $30… and I actually don’t currently have a 620 folding camera, I sold my Foldex 20. I might give it a home if it’s still there next time I go.

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junk, yay! captured with the golden half

I have now lived in Louisiana long enough to attend both the spring and fall outside sales at the Old Schoolhouse Antiques Mall in Washington, LA. I love taking photos of all the gorgeous old junk*. It has such great texture.

And I don’t know why, but the awesome little Golden Half is a great camera for this locale. Something about junk really lends itself to the diptych. Either both images sort of go together (tarnished silver flatware and rusted metal headboards) or they don’t go together at all (old dolls and bottles); either way it’s a charming format. And I love the random spots of not-quite-in-focus you get with this camera.

*”Junk” is here used affectionately.

golden half, old schoolhouse antiques mall (and a couple miscellaneous)

I had like 5 cameras going all at once, and I finished them pretty much at the same time, so expect lots of photo entries this week.

I like this one because it’s like real flowers on one side, abstract flowers on the other. Part of the fun of the Golden Half is finding images that connect when you put them next to each other.

You know you’re living in the tropics (or near to them) when nurseries sell plants that have hot pink leaves the size of dinner plates.

I like all the texture in this one. There was some guy staring creepily through the window on the right, but I mostly obliterated him with the clone feature. Which I know, is kind of cheating, but seriously: he was totally creeping. UGH.

Gueydan is “The Duck Capital of the World”. They have a Duck Festival, but it’s the last week in August. NO THANKS.

One day I hope to own a giant horned animal skull of some sort.

Clabber is unpasteurized sour milk. Why the fuck anyone in their right mind would eat that — let alone name a line of baking products after it — is beyond me. Clabber Girl is still around — there’s a container of Clabber Girl corn starch in the pantry downstairs.

I had the first roll from my Blackbird Fly developed yesterday, and there’s some really good stuff on it (including a photo I took of my grandmother on Mother’s Day that is one of the best candid portraits I’ve ever taken). But the ninnies at Walgreen’s “forgot” to make my CD, although they didn’t forget to charge me for it. And the girl who was working the photo counter when I went back apparently doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground. I’m supposed to go back today and get it, when the one employee who knows how to feed a strip of negatives into a machine and press a button will be working.

I also sent off my expired film from the Brownie Hawkeye — the mystery roll that was already in the camera, and the expired in 1968 roll that I shot — yesterday. I really, really hope that Dwayne’s doesn’t give me any “We don’t process 620” guff. It’s the exact same film as 120! It’s just wrapped around a different sized spool!! I also pray they don’t ignore my special instruction to send the spools back — I’ll need them if I ever want to use my Brownie Hawkeye or my Kodak Duaflex again.

kodak brownie hawkeye

I’ve mentioned the Washington, LA Old Schoolhouse Antiques Mall before; today was day one of their 3-day semi-annual (they have another one in October) “outside” fair, so called because they have a lot more vendors than usual, and they’re all outside of the building. I went with the ‘rents, although Phil spent most of the time sleeping on the front steps. Mr. Excitement.

Frankly, I thought most of the outside vendors were straight-up junk, except for one booth that had a lot of cool old jewelry. I bought a pin shaped like a blue seahorse from her. But I’ve always made good finds inside the mall. It’s where I bought my Kodak Duaflex last year. It still has the take-up spool inside it, which means I could modify 120 rolls to shoot in it (technically it takes 620, which hasn’t been made in decades). But the lab would have to send the spool back, or I’d never be able to shoot in it again, so I’ve been too nervous to actually use it so far. I will one day, though. I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise.

Anyway, I was hoping the same vendor would have more old cameras, and she did not disappoint. I got the above flash model Kodak Brownie Haweye for $40. It has all the flash bulbs! And a roll of 620 that expired in 1968! And how’s this for freaky: there’s a roll in the camera, exposed up to frame 11. I will definitely be sending that in for development. The vendor told me I had to come back if there was anything interesting or weird on it.

The fact that there’s still a roll of film in the camera tells me that it’s not missing any parts inside, so that’s awesome. There’s a space in the box where something used to be, but whatever it was it wasn’t vital, because the flash still connects to the camera. Maybe it was a little tripod or something.

This camera isn’t as old as my Duaflex. My Duaflex was the first model made — I can tell because there’s no Roman numeral after the name — putting it between 1947-1950. The flash model Brownie Hawkeye was in production between 1950-1961, and this one feels like mid-50s to me. It’s bakelite, not plastic; I rubbed some water on the side and it released the smell of formeldahyde. I learned that from Antiques Roadshow.

I’m building up quite a collection of old cameras. One day I will own a Rolleiflex. Oh yes… it will be mine.

ETA: I put the question of the missing space to the Brownie Hawkeye group on flickr, and the likeliest scenario is it contained the batteries for the flash. It’s the right size, and also explains why they’re missing when everything else — even all the flash bulbs — is still there, because batteries will always get put into something eventually.