Rediscovering Russia, one vintage Soviet lens at a time

Rediscovering Russia, one vintage Soviet lens at a time

When Valentin Tchoukhounine returned to St Petersburg for the first time in ten years, to sort through the home of his late Grandfather, he discovered a box of dusty Soviet-era camera lenses, last used in the 1950’s and 60’s. 

Drawn to their unusual design and archaic features, he decided to adapt three of them, a Zenitar 16mm f2.8, Helios 44 f2.0, and a Helios 40 f1.5 to his own digital camera, and use them to document and reimagine the city of his childhood, which had changed so dramatically in his absence.  

The romanticism of using these vintage lenses appealed to Valentin, as did the irony of literally viewing Russia through Soviet glass, but what he quickly learned was that he was in the possession of no ordinary lenses. 

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Anna's Adventures: A 70+ Year Old Camera + Darkroom Magic = The World's Slowest Selfie

Anna's Adventures: A 70+ Year Old Camera + Darkroom Magic = The World's Slowest Selfie

Published in PRIMOLife Magazine June 2015

Taking a picture with a persnickety 1950’s Linhof Technika camera is hard work, but when Kit, my friend and artist invited me to try out large format photography using a technique that is over one hundred years old, I couldn’t wait to get started.

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