The very expensive paperweight

The heart of the Hopeless Maine film project will be a hand wound camera. We’ve known that for a long time. So, early in 2020, the hunt for the camera began. At this point we had no idea what might be out there, what it would cost and what would be possible.

Then, an amazing thing happened. An early camera came up for sale in Italy. We could afford it. We were all silly amounts of excited. The purchase was made. The waiting for delivery began. Some of us were over emotional and cried a bit (ok, that was me).

The camera arrived with Gregg! Photos of it pinged between the team. We were all very excited. Then on closer inspection, it turned out to be missing the crank for winding the film. Fortunately there are a lot of clever and practical people in the team so plans commenced almost at once for how to make that part.

The camera was so old that the lens wouldn’t adjust. Gregg’s guess was that it might well be clogged up with hundred year old camera grease. So, while Gregg sought out help from a lens expert, some of us wondered if hundred year old camera grease might be the kind of thing to scrape into small jars and sell on ebay to people who get very excited about old cameras. (Me again).

However, it turned out on closer inspection that the fundamental problem with the lens, was there wasn’t one. We had bought a singularly expensive paperweight. There followed some trying exchanges in which the camera seller tried to persuade us that selling the camera without crank or lens was entirely reasonable.

Ebay did not agree, so we were able to get most of our money back. That at least was a relief, but it was also a setback and a moral blow for all of us. However, there was a collective getting up and dusting off and determining to try again. The hunt was back on. We were not going to be beaten that easily!

If you’d like to help us keep the film project moving, do check out this page for details about how you can get involved

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