An Old Camera Gets a New Life

Admittedly, I own too many cameras. So when it was time to leave Madagascar, I invited a couple of friends – who happen to be the only other film photographers in Madagascar, as far as I know – to see if anything caught their attention.

Safidy and Toni browsed my collection just days before they were destined to be packed in boxes and shipped to mainland Africa, and Toni liked the heft and feel of one that happens to also be a favorite – but I never really used much (another sign I own too many cameras). It’s a 1958 rangefinder I blogged about here, that I had acquired from an estate sale of the late Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Robert Williams, who had passed away in late 2008. How do I know? He engraved his social security number in the bottom.

Aires 35V, manufactured in 1958 or 1959

I always thought I had only ever run a single roll of black and white film through it, but when I went hunting for a photo of Toni, I stumbled across a folder of color photos I had taken with the Aires at Safidy’s wedding, where we can see Toni doing what he loves best.

Toni is third from the right, snapping a photo. Safidy and his soon-to-be bride are at the table of honor, in the center.

I asked Toni if, once he had a chance to experiment with the Aires, to send me some samples and he recently obliged. It’s great to see an old camera like this get a new life with yet another owner, and I’m certain it will keep clicking for years to come. If not, hopefully Toni will pass it on to another person who appreciates it as much as the late LTC Williams, I, and he did!

Toni’s pictures featured below. You can learn more about Toni’s work and see some of the phenomenal pictures he has taken over the years with cameras both digital and analog, at his website.

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