|my speed graphic with a DSLR inside--please pardon the blurry cell phone pick! My camera was occupied...|
|Karen Hermeston, a Canadian combat camerawoman, shooting with an Anniversary Speed Graphic|
|anatomy of an Anniversary Speed Graphic|
|Photographer Toni Frissell, who volunteered as a photographer for the American Red Cross holding a Speed Graphic|
|the Graphic back, opened|
|With the back removed|
|After the film backing is cut away|
In order to hold the camera in place (without damaging anything), I used velcro strips wound through the interior bars of the Speed Graphic. That way I could remove my DSLR whenever I wanted/needed to, but it would be secure and held firmly in place while inside. To protect the body of my Canon, I layered cotton quilt batting inside the Speed Graphic (which is the fuzzy white stuff in the pictures).
|Testing the view while inside the Speed Graphic|
|Padded and strapped in|
|Holding up the original camera back to where it needed to sit--there's a big DSLR-shaped gap|
To fill this gap, I decided to build an extension to the Speed Graphic body. In the end, this made the setup about 5 inches longer than the original camera...but from far away (or even fairly close) it wasn't super noticeable, and I decided that was good enough. I built the extension out of foam board (think science fair presentations) and hot glue, with two openings in the top and bottom to weave the velcro straps through. This meant that everything was attached together, and pretty solid without damaging the DSLR. I also left a small gap in the frame to thread the cord for my remote shutter (which is how I actually took pictures).
I covered the frame in textured black scrapbooking paper before sponging it with mod poge glossy sealer. This allowed me to mimic the texture of the actual Speed Graphic body so the two looked slightly more cohesive. I attached the original back to this frame extension, and voila! I sneaky Speed Graphic "home" for my DSLR!
|the finished contraption, with the DSLR viewfinder and screen through the opened Graphic back|
The one majorly inaccurate piece was that I actually shot by looking through the opened camera back, rather than through the actual Speed Graphic viewfinder. It was the best compromise I could come up with...oh well.
|My inaccurate shooting form|
Putting the monster together was a little tricky, because while I strapped everything into place I needed to periodically check what was visible through the DSLR so that I could make sure the lens wasn't obstructed. (Actually, I didn't figure the process out until the second day of the event, which is why I most of my pictures from the first day didn't quite come out.) The extension also had a tendency to slide around while I was out and about, allowing the batting to poke through. Still, it was a key part of my impression for the weekend, and I had a blast shooting with it! While I want to make some adjustments, this is definitely a prop that will be coming out again.
|BONUS! Someone sent me this image, found on Flikr, of me holding the baby in its Speed Graphic shell. Image from Richard Borutta|