Photographer Timur Civan, with the help of some intricate mechanical wizardry, has created a kind of zombie camera. After getting an assignment that required a certain vintage aesthetic, the photographer was playing around with a 4×5 large-format camera to get his desired effect, but found the size and cost prohibitive. Fortunately, a friend who tinkers with camera gear had the perfect solution — instead of faking the retro vibe, they would replicate it.
The gear-head friend discovered a vintage 35mm brass lens from 1908, still in working condition. The only problem? The lens is a fraction of the size of modern-day monoliths. Civan’s technician had to find a way to retrofit the old lens onto the new digital camera body. The result is a flat metal disc that rests on top the SLR camera, with the tiny old lens in the middle. It looks kind of like a mutation, a normal lens hit by a shrink ray (see below).
Outfitted with its new accessory, the thoroughly high-tech Canon 5D now takes photos that are undeniable early 20th century. Civan’s photos of skyscrapers blur and fuzz toward the edges of the picture frame, but the contrast is as rich as any contemporary lens. The colors are slightly desaturated at night, but in the sunlight they light up in dark yellows and oranges. It’s a surreal effect to see unfiltered JPEGs looking like they were taken a century ago, but Civan’s work is also uniquely beautiful: two eras of photo equipment coming together in single snapshots. [Cinema 5D]
— Kyle Chayka