Meet the Minox Riga, the first true, subminature spy camera that saw actual use for espionage throughout the WWII and the cold war.
Invented in 1936 by Walter Zapp, it was the first to use itty bitty 8x11mm film (a little smaller than your pinky’s fingernail), making it tiny enough to hide in the palm of your hand, but powerful enough to take high resolution photographs of your enemy’s top secret documents.
The Riga was a true marvel of design & miniaturization in it’s day, a time when even 35mm, then a newer format, was widely considered “super compact” in comparison to the 6×9 & 120mm type cameras people were more accustomed to. Holding it up to a normal sized camera then would be like comparing an iPod Shuffle to a vinyl record today. And boy is it a dream to hold. Small, heavy, and perfectly smooth. Later versions, made of aluminum instead of the original brushed steel, even included a built in light meter. Bond-worthy for sure.
Operating the camera
To make this thing go, simply pop in a film canister, pull the camera open to arm the shutter, and click. Advancing to the next photo is as easy as collapsing the camera, then reopening it in a shotgun-like fashion, making a strangely satisfying sound as the gears spin and click into place.
You can apparently still find these cameras in working order on eBay… that is, if you’ve got 1000 bucks laying around. Regardless, it’s a wonderful example of industrial design to feed your camera nostalgia.
One of my all time favorite photographers, pilots, and a personal hero. You can find his blog here, or follow him on Instagram.
Lovely colors & photographic sense for capturing small, fleeting moments from this rather unknown Flickr user known as “iamthechanster.” I can’t seem to find her first name anywhere, and she seems to only shoot as a hobby, but i’d certainly hang one of these on a wall. Whoever you are, please keep shooting.
As seen from the International Space Station. The atmospheric color bending & light play is crazy amazing. Found on the Nasa Goddard Flickr account here.
Fun fact: most of the early space suits were manufactured by ILC Dover, also known as Playtex, the same company that made women’s undergarments. More wall-worthy goodies from the San Diego Air & Space Museum on Flickr. How well can you head-bang in space?
More goodness from the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives on Flickr. These fantastically-yellowed photos, probably taken at the Skunkworks facility in Palmdale, CA in the 80’s, almost look like illustrations.
Found myself swooning over this guy’s work – a combination of photography, acrylic, and eight-bit amazingness. From his site:
Dealing with themes of memory and change, Thornton uses family photos, pop culture, world events, and outdated media to illustrate the modern relevance of these past objects and events. In acrylic paintings, pigment transfers, and marker drawings, the use of erasure and fragmentation represent memory’s imperfections.
Check out his portfolio site, or follow his ever flowing photostream on Flickr.
With such stark contrast between the subtleties of the salt and the void created by cloth, at first blush, you’d think these were illustrations or oil paintings. Meet Shanghai artist / photographer Bence Bakonyi. There’s something so clever in how he twists your sense of medium & scale. Find more of his work on Behance.