Friday, 14 August 2009

Great news! I'll be able to rent an antique Graflex from Audio-Visual Services in Hampden, Baltimore for the Chatterton shoot! It's actually a piece personally owned by the store's founder, but he was interested in the project and happy to clean the camera up for me and rent it to me for an extremely reasonable rate.

Audio-Visual Services is a fascinating place. A narrow little shop in Hampden near the popular bar Rocket to Venus, it overflows with vintage still and movie cameras, projectors and parts. It was founded by Cas, who tells me he's "an old movieman," who was shooting film in Baltimore before anyone else was. He filled his shop with antique pieces and replacement parts, partly to serve the photographers and filmmakers still interested in using traditional equipment, and partly as a tribute to the old technology. His shelves are like a kooky, crammed museum, and he told me students often come up to the shop just to look at everything. But much of it is still useful, if patrons are interested in using it - I've actually visited the shop myself for parts to repair one of the 16mm projectors owned by the JHU Film Department, and I can't imagine any other business in Baltimore that would be as helpful or instructive to fans of shooting and projecting real film.

Cas has passed the business on to his son, Eric, who has made it notable for his audio repair work. Cas tells me he can barely walk through the store now for all the amps that have been sent in by people around the country! But Cas still comes in on Fridays to fix up his cameras. If you're in Baltimore, stop by for a look around and a chat. It's hidden little gem of a store.

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