Press photographer gear in the 40's and 50's?
I posted this same question in another forum, and nobody really knew the answer. I was hoping it would get different responses here.
For a press photographer in the 40's and 50's shooting a 4x5 speed graphic, what would be the lenses that one would carry? Aside from the standard 127mm and 135mm would there be a wide angle? Maybe a 10" or 15"? Or did they just use one lens and do what they could? I always see documentaries and all I see are 135's and 127's. They look like they are traveling light?
Grab some old "'60's vintage" Photojournalism books......
As a kid I remember going through 60's vintage "Photojournalism" books (they were "vintage" then), and there were plenty of descriptions of the typical Press "kit" back in the 50's and earlier. Photographers from newspapers in Milwaukee, NYC, Louisville Courier-Journal and other locations had a boatload of 4X5 Speed Graphics, film holders, extra 4X5 Graphics with different lens boards (getting around the rangefinder calibration issues), with most of the gear stored in the huge trunk of some then-current Ford or Chevy. And those cars had room for "junk" in the trunk.
Some of the most elaborate pieces were the gear used for sports photography in that day, guys over the press box with a who-knows-how-long majestic glass in front of some hybrid camera/film holder combination. They pre-focused the lens (via ground glass back) for baseball games to catch 1st, 2nd and 3rd base positions and used intuition to get the shot. A different era......
Even when that book was published, MF was widely accepted in the Press field, 35MM was coming on board.
The comment on the photographer Weegee is spot-on..............the trunk of his car looked like a small closet of a Speed-Graphic collection. If these guys were ever rear-ended, not good for maintenance of the LF "fleet".