Book Review Cameras at War - John Wade

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by von Poop, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Cameras at War.
    Photo Gear that Captured 100 Years of Conflict – From Crimea to Korea
    John Wade
    Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
    Pages: 272
    Illustrations: 260 b&w
    ISBN: 9781526760104
    Published: 21st July 2020
    Pen & Sword - Cameras at War

    Full disclosure: I collect cameras (or did, until a dispiriting incident with a Rolleiflex). Love the things for their mechanical actions & the change they wrought on humanity, so I don't come to this with anything other than a positive bias about the subject.

    Physically: Nicely produced paperback with good crisp monochrome illustrations. P&S production quality seems universally good these days.

    Mr Wade will be familiar to anyone that collects photography gear, or pretty much anyone who's consumed any UK photography meeja in the last few decades. His Blue Book price guides have been the collector's friend for a long time (without having to make the transatlantic translations the magnificent Mckeown's requires) and he writes widely on all aspects from modern use to weird and wonderful antiques.

    This book was needed. To be clear, it isn't about the photographers or their units. It's about the equipment they used. I don't doubt he could write most of the specific camera descriptions off the top of his head, or that much of that info can be gleaned from the web with a bit of effort (many impressive often marque-specific sites out there), but I don't recall seeing such a handy compendium of 'wartime' cameras in one place. He also injects just enough anecdotal info on civilian photography 'issues' or particularly unusual machines to keep it interesting. Pigeon, Lewis gun, spy cameras etc.
    There's that gazetteer thing again, though. It's a stroll through a long & wide subject so don't expect too much info on one camera or brand - if someone's obsessed with wartime Leicas etc., they've already spent far more than the cover price here on multiple detailed niche volumes.

    Whether you can trust an enthusiast's review of such a thing, I don't know, but as I guess I'm the target market and I've just read it in a morning (while smugly noting the mentioned models I possess... as you do) & will definitely refer to it again, then I think it's probably hit its mark.
    I might have liked a bit more about the technical difficulties of combat photography or its toll on equipment, but I can read Don McCullin etc. for stuff like that, and such digressions might have swamped the aim of this book.

    Into cameras & military history? Yeah, I think you might like it.
    Into AFPUs etc.? It's not going to reveal new info to you but might make a handy equipment reference guide.


    Cheers to P&S for the review copy.

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