Flipped Lens Portraits with a Brownie Hawkeye Flash

One of the great things about the Brownie Hawkeye flash box camera is the ease with which you can flip the lens around to create some really interesting results. here is my camera, I’ve had it a few years but only shot a few flipped lens images.

It occured to me that if I could nail down the focal length with the lens flipped then portraits would be interesting.

Flipping the lens is very easy, remove the back of the camera and look toward the lens, you will see two screws that hold the film frame in place, remove them to reveal the single meniscus lens. it will pop straight out, just flip it round, replace it then put the film frame back withthose two screws and you are ready to go.

So with the lens flipped you will get a “focus” pretty close to the lens (maybe) and everything else is out of focus in a really cool way. You can determine where the “sweet spot” is by trial and error or simply make a crude “focus screen” and place it where the film will be. I stretched some semi opaque polythene over the film area and held the camera up to a bright light bulb to see where the camera focused. For my camera it was 12-14″

OK, so there was an opportunity to meet some new and old friends in Norwich, some of us had pinhole photos on show in a cafe. Rene Vonk flew over from Holland and along with Joe Baker, Cath Cartman, my Wife Julie and our Daughter Georgia, we headed to the Cathedral.

The cloisters are a brilliant place to make pictures so here is where I brought out the Brownie and proceeded to bemuse everyone by sticking this camera pretty much in their faces at about 12-14 inches.

HP5 was used, I figured that would be the best choice, and i used Rodinal 1+100 semi stand development for 1 hour.

I was pleasantly suprised by the results and will now do more of this.

I’d be interested to hear what you think!


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