The Van Neck Press Camera



"Here's an amusing trio of pictures discovered in an old album found by UK photojournalist Des Gershon. They show a young trainee press-photographer - in those days apparently you had to look smart for every assignment so you didn't let the newspaper down (hence the clean cut hair do with a tidy coat and clean shirt) in this case it was a weekly newspaper in Derbyshire. According to the information Des got from this contemporary snapper from the '60s, this particular newspaper wouldn't go to the expense of buying a film camera - other guys were using Rollei's and some real weirdies were using a camera that used a version of cine film - who wants quality anyway? Each assignment found this under-nourished lad going out with 24 single metal slides each with a 9x12cm glass Kodak P1200 plate. Every exposure had to count and on return to the darkroom four plates at a time were immersed in a D61a developer solution for 7 minutes at 20 centigrade then hand rinsed in the dark and dipped one at a time into a an earlier hand mixed fixer solution. Those were the days - ugh! Every Friday morning the poor lad had to clean the darkroom floor. It couldn't have done him any harm for later he went on to an evening newspaper then to a regional morning and evening and then to a UK national daily. He doesn't use a VN now but I understand that he spends most of his time in front of a computer messing about with digital images - whatever next?"


Above: The VanNeck quarter plate version 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 double wooden plate holder. The young man on the left holding a, according to Des Gershon, Ross Version with synchronised Flash and single metallic plate holder.

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