Pocket Camera

Richard Fischer                  1973         Compact Camera                                    

Just because it has a drawbridge, that does not make it medieval. On the contrary, this clever mechanism made it one of the most modern 35mm cameras of its time and certainly one of the most compact ever. When you opened the front, which was hinged at the bottom, this pulled out the lens and switched the camera’s light exposure meter on. When closed, the camera, viewfinder front and battery compartment cover where safely protected under the smooth lid. It was made, like the rest of the camera, from glass fiber reinforced polycarbonate. Calling it ‘plastic’ does not do justice to this extremely sturdy and solid material that found its perfect application in this expertly designed and engineered device. It combined the practicality of a true pocket camera with the quality of a well-built precision instrument. The German designer, who graduated from the famous Ulm school and had accomplished a career working for German design conscious companies, studied ‘product language’, the significance of shape for the user, and very successfully put this acquired knowledge to excellent use in this masterpiece of his oeuvre. The German term ‘Handschmeichler’, an object seemingly caressing the hand, perfectly sums up the haptic quality of this robust companion for travel and street photography. Popular during the cold war not only among clandestine operators, the Russians decided then and there to produce an exact copy out of Ukraine, the ultimate form of flattery.


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