PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPOSURE CALCULATOR / 1929-1930

While foraging through the debris of an East End market I found this wonderful photographic handbook from the late 1920’s published by Burroughs Wellcome & Co. The small document is filled with useful information designed to assist the photographer at every stage of his work. From essential facts about lenses to mixing chemicals and developing bromide paper, this book also comes with a diary and monthly light tables. At the back is the Exposure Calculator, a wheel that gives the photographer the correct exposure in seconds or fractions of a second depending on the type of shot they are taking (studio, distant landscapes, cloud cover…etc).

It’s fascinating to see how simply this book could predetermine depending on the time of year the suitable lighting conditions within which to take the perfect picture. Through understanding the principles of daylight the cinematographer could gauge very accurately what exposure would suite them best. Before the days of electronic lighting meters we relied so much on the clockwork cycles of natural light to provide this fundamental information for film and photography.

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