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The Painted Camera Conclusion

It’s been well over a year since I first mentioned that I wanted to paint my mom’s camera. (Back story: it had been ruined in our basement flood, and out of everything we lost, the now non-functioning camera brought me close to tears.) That post brought up a resounding no!, and admittedly, I was on the fence. Yes, even after you said not to; even though we all share the belief that paint can fix (almost) anything.

I left it alone for the time being, and then I shared this Renegade display with you. Surprisingly, seeing another painted camera changed your minds, and strange as it may seem, that meant a lot to me. As someone who is typically stubborn and rarely listens to rational suggestions, your opinion mattered to me. Because in the end, it was more than just my mom’s camera. Originally handed down to me as a utilitarian classroom tool, it ultimately became my passion and career path in life.

Months later, the camera still sat untouched. I was clearly over thinking the whole to paint, or not to paint?, spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. Then this pin was brought to my attention:

I loved them. I wanted them, too. And then recently, we received a package from Susan of Jubilee Furniture. She came to our rescue once before when we needed a filing cabinet for our office (turned studio!), and she thought of us when this discarded Pentax came across her donation box:

Rather than risk painting my camera, she suggested I paint another. (On a side note, she also filled the package with beautiful scarves, and if you’re in the Chicago area, you must go to Jubilee. It’s furniture heaven. Be sure to give Susan hugs, because she’s amazing and sweet and thoughtful. You can also follow her blog, here, for current inventory updates.)

After verifying that the camera wasn’t worth millions (it’s not), I got to work discarding the strap, removing the lens, and wiping it down with warm, soapy water. Cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol helped me rid the stubborn grime.

After putting it back together, I used this super glue to secure all the loose parts. Anything that could be removed – including the lens itself – was glued to the body, and a few thin lines were applied to the film winder and crank.

At this point, I realized I could paint the camera any color I wanted, but in the end, I chose the standard glossy white. It’s final resting place would be in the studio, and it’s already been decided that my grandma’s chair would be the star of the show. (That is, once the fabric’s been chosen.)

It took four thin coats to get it as white and opaque as I had in mind, and it’s better than I could have ever imagined! I’m in love! (In addition to being stubborn, I can be dramatic, too.)

The original camera texture shows through the gloss finish, making me very, very happy. You’re even able to read the manufacturer details etched in the metal.

And for good measure, here’s the Pentax with my (mom’s) Minolta. Aside from the obvious difference in brand, they’re aesthetically identical. It was the perfect test subject!

I’ve no regrets whatsoever, and I think (oh, boy) that I’m going to leave my mom’s camera untouched. However, I make no promises on future cameras that cross my path – because, after all, a whole group is better than one.

Thank you, Susan!

Second image via The Blog Is Found.

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