A new documentary will premiere tomorrow at the Mount Vernon Waterfront Theatre on Fairfax Avenue

From left: Charles Rickel, 1920, and Stanitix Vinegar founder Ray Rickel, 1942. Lanning’s first “faded” image was an alligator-dogfish fisherman shot in the Florida Keys circa 1900. In his new book, “Collectors Who Caught…

A new documentary will premiere tomorrow at the Mount Vernon Waterfront Theatre on Fairfax Avenue

From left: Charles Rickel, 1920, and Stanitix Vinegar founder Ray Rickel, 1942.

Lanning’s first “faded” image was an alligator-dogfish fisherman shot in the Florida Keys circa 1900.

In his new book, “Collectors Who Caught the Bug: The Ultimate Guide to Antique Camera Collectors,” author and filmmaker Peter Rutledge guides visitors on a 20-hour round-trip bus trip from San Francisco to San Marcos, Calif., and a stop at the historic Buccaneer Cove Antique Center before returning to his home in Providence, R.I. In addition to names and dates of collections, details of photographs and sizes of back issues of magazines, including Antique Camera Magazine, making the trip is a foretaste of the details Rutledge pulls in his documentary, “Collectors Who Caught the Bug,” screening tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Waterfront Theatre in Alexandria, Va.

“I started shooting things in camera as a kid, and then became interested in photographs more formally,” Rutledge said. “Over time, my passion became more in the photography of collecting.”

In 1990, Rutledge started shooting antiques and illustrated photography as a documentary, and made a film about old New England gardens. Today, he photographs antiques all over the world as the President of Rhino Media, which he formed to grow his own brand.

“Collectors Who Caught the Bug” is already on sale on Amazon.com and can be pre-ordered from Rhino at rhinomedia.com. The tour starts this week and ends next fall.

Travel by bus to San Marcos, CA

One leg of the tour is from San Francisco to San Marcos, Calif., in the state in which Rutledge was born. During the Depression, Rutledge bought his first point-and-shoot camera in 1950 and has slowly been building his collection over the decades.

“I have never been to the California coast, or any of the antique centers in the state,” Rutledge said. “The only museum of antique cameras is at the California Museum in San Marcos.”

Rutledge said that there are some collectors who travel to a spot to choose an antique camera that will photograph special occasions. He said many collectors, however, visit antiques shows and use a personal referral.

“This is a normal practice,” Rutledge said. “Most collectors will return for the chance to see and photograph an antique camera that best suits their personal needs, then pick it up later.”

During the tour, Rutledge offers photographic advice and a chance to view a number of antiques and watch one man in particular settle a score with a collector. Rutledge describes the man as an armed robber who had stolen a particular camera.

“This story has a happy ending,” Rutledge said. “The guy comes along and says, ‘I am not going to photograph another camera, unless you pay me.’ When he [the collector] asked how much, he said, ‘I just shot the guy.’”

The documentary team has made many tweaks and color tweaks for the current version of the film that shows rediscoveries of previously undiscovered and seldom photographed photography, including: (1) multiple look-alike series – a photographer’s attempt to do one thing simultaneously using slightly different cameras – using a pioneer camera called the Beringer U86 and two film stock sources from Beringer Film, a pioneer manufacturer of cameras; (2) a look-alike collection of early camera bodies, “Citizen Kane”-style; (3) pictures of fashion shoots, using an unconventional camera/sample model/flashbox; (4) a series of retro photographers, including a Yotel yuppie and a younger brother of Greg Nicotero, who did several zombie films.

If you go:

Here are the details of tomorrow’s film event and tickets:

“Collectors Who Caught the Bug”

1:15 p.m. Mar. 21 at Mount Vernon Waterfront Theatre

241-9404

Ticket information: rhinomedia.com

PG-13

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