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The object of desire: a sneek peek inside the world of Dora Goodman

Does a camera alone make a photographer great? Absolutely not. But the right tool in the right hands are both essential to achieving perfection. The list of companies still making 35mm-film cameras is fading fast, however many photographers rely on  used analog cameras, but what if you want one that's shiny and new?  Custom cameras are always very special and unique projects requiring not only more time, but a rather complex workphase. Each approach is fine-tuned through a detailed discussion with the new owner, therefore the number and possibility of such customizations is currently very limited. Dora Goodman's hand-crafted cameras are not just breathtakingly beautiful: she is turning the classical analogue pieces into art, bringing back the unique craftmanship and precision of the  lost times, making each piece a valued collector's item. It's not just her Hungarian roots that make us proud, also her creativity and dedication! 

All photos supplied for this article are courtesy of Dora Goodman and strictly copyrighted, all rights reserved! 

"Antique and vintage cameras are valued by collectors for countless reasons, from the historical significance of 19th-century wood cameras to the fine optics of classic vintage Leicas. In recent years, Kodaks and Polaroids have joined the ranks of the most collectible cameras on the market, as has the Bolex H model movie camera. If the antique cameras of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are desired by collectors, so are the vintage postwar cameras that came out of Sweden and Japan. The first Swedish Hasselblads were actually based on the design of a German camera that had been captured during World War II. After the war, Hasselblad manufactured the 1600F, whose name was based on its highest aperture speed setting (1/1600th) and shutter type (focal-plane). The 1000F of 1952 made a splash with American photographers, as did the 500C model, which was designed to be compatible with Zeiss lenses. Beginning in 1962, a Hasselblad camera was taken on every NASA mission, including the motor-driven 500EL/70 that was used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Jr., the first humans to set foot on the moon. But Hasselblad was not only camera to be sent into space. Also in 1962, a Minolta Hi-Matic was modified for John Glenn when he manned the first NASA spacecraft to orbit the earth. Another highly collected name in vintage cameras is Nikon, which grew out of a company called Nippon Kogaku Kogyo Kabushikigaisha, founded in 1917. In 1932, the name Nikkor was used to brand the company’s lenses, which were compatible with Leica cameras from Germany. Cameras became a product of their own for Nikon only after the war, when work on the Nikon I began—the camera itself was released in 1948. Camera collectors look for models from this period stamped “Made in Occupied Japan,” but their place of manufacture is not as important as their quality. Quickly, Nikons became the choice of journalists such as "LIFE" magazine photographer David Douglas Duncan, who carried Nikons everywhere he went during his coverage of the Korean War. By the 1950s, the Nikon S2 was the gold standard for 35mm cameras, and by 1968, a modified Nikon F was on its way to the moon, joining the crew of Apollo 15. Still, in the second half of the 20th centuries, cameras were also toys for the masses, and there was no more satisfying toy than the Polaroid Land Camera Model 95, which debuted in 1948. Improvements in these “instant” cameras (no more waiting for film to be developed in a lab) culminated in 1972 with the SX-70, which ejected a photograph that developed right before the amateur photographer’s eyes." as summarised by Collector's Weekly.

But how do these amazing vintage cameras come to life by Dora Goodman? First, she has to find a perfectly functioning camera in a good shape, then she has to disassemble the whole thing, and the rest of the work is days of cutting and grinding, glueing and drying, roughly it takes around two weeks. Most of the cameras on her website  are selections and examples of the ones she has previously customized and sold, however certain indicated ones are  available for purchase. Each custom camera comes in a serial numbered Dora Goodman giftbox kit with hand crafted accessories to match the design of the camera.

Handmade camera accessories are available also using genuine leather elements along the finest and most durable materials to ensure the best quality along functionality and design.

Build, Complete, Share - watch out, The Goodman One will open up new opportunities in the path of photography.

"I have been working super hard on the Goodman One for the last two years. The basic gist was a dream to dress up the classical medium / large format in a new modern look while still remain in the track of allowing some experiment, playfulness and mobility. I wanted to make a modular camera that easily accepts leaf shutter lenses, and permits multiple photography techniques - be it wet plate collodion or digital back. The Goodman One is an open source camera that I would like to share with anyone with access to a 3D printer. You’d not only have a chance to make it yourself using my assembly instructions, but to further tweak, finetune or even replan and pass it on as well. I have already designed a roll film and sheet film back, viewfinders, cold flash mount and a couple of other accessories to attach, but would like to challenge all of you makers out there to go ahead and develop the camera even further. The Goodman One could therefore be a device almost free yet rather light and durable allowing creative freedom for any experimental photographer. You can find an early challenge uploaded to the doragoodman.com site via a call to get you going with the camera. You can find various files, fine-tuned printer settings and a detailed note on both the necessary particles and procedure needed to put the camera together. I truly hope it will reach as many of you out there as possible and will open up new opportunities in the path of photography."

Camera manufacturing has always been closely related to processing and elaborating wood, a material being a noble, durable yet truly unique and fine element. With every wood plated custom camera purchase comes a chance not only to live up treasures of our environment, but to show some gratitude with planting a tree somewhere most needed. For special requests and orders visit www.doragoodman.com

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