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  A Brief History of Photography      

I'm often asked about the little-known Japanese folder that came to be on the cover of my upcoming book.  It's an interesting story.

In the mid 1980's, my father came in to my store, carrying a small box.  In it was his Beauty Six camera.

He explained to me that when I was twelve, he had owned six cameras, but that I had taken them all apart, to see what made them "tick".  This was the only one I'd got back together, in working order, and thus he felt I should now have it.

Some years later, around 2005 or 2006, I told this story on a small, polite, email-based photo-discussion list I'd been a part of since 1995 and which I have run since 2004.  It drew a few nice comments and I thought nothing more of it.

Now, we fast-forward about six months, when I received an email from a chap in Paris.  A fellow I'd never heard of.

He'd found my post and was all excited about my Beauty Six.  He wanted to know... did I still have it?  Could I send him photos?  Did it have this or that feature?  He had a LOT of questions!

It turned out that he was one of the editors of the Camerapedia (now known as the Camera-Wiki.org) who were attempting to compile an encyclopedic list of every camera ever made!  And the Beauty Six was on his list to research!

He sent me a link to what he'd discovered thus far, and it showed that just two surviving examples of the Beauty Six were known.

I replied, agreeing to send him photos and details of the camera, adding that it was rather exciting to know that my Dad's camera would be only the third camera of its type known.

He quickly replied saying "Oh no. The information I have is about the 1953 Beauty Six. You have the 1950 Beauty Six. It is much more rare."

It turns out that almost 20 years further on, in the entire world, there are still only two known, surviving examples of the 1950 Beauty Six. And only one of them is complete with the original never-ready case and box. Mine.

And that, my friends, is how an obscure, somewhat battle-scarred, post-war, Japanese 6x6 folder came to be on the cover of my upcoming book.... A Brief History of Photography.

A Brief History of Photogrraphy Cover Photo