The title of this post is, as anyone can tell my glancing through the images which follow, completely wrong. The cameras are all new to me, but they are far from new. None of them are digital, none of them can be used as a telephone and you need fairly big pockets to store them in. Even so, as I gradually take over the collection of a good friend of mine and begin expanding it, they are new and bring, as do all new things, a certain amount of excitement with them. And they all come from flea markets, which has become one of my new (another one!) interests for both collecting things and taking my own photographs.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: Brownie Starlet
I’m not sure whether you can say I have a lot of luck when finding these antiques, or whether someone is ‘pulling me over the table’, as the Germans say. Perhaps I am still a little wet behind the ears, perhaps I am simply there at the right time, all depending on what prices you might expect to pay against what I pay and what you are looking for. I have a very simple idea at the moment: the camera isn’t on my shelves, let’s see if I can get it for a good price. And this seems to work, most of the time.
But, as I say, it all depends on what someone else would call a good price and what I am prepared to pay. I tend to take very little money with me when I visit flea markets, partially because I don’t want to go broke before the end of the month, and partially because I need to limit myself as much as possible. Otherwise I’d be using a truck to get things back home and, probably far quicker than you can imagine, I would be single again.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: Seagull
I also have an upper limit – as well as a few tricks up my sleeves – and do know, even when faced with a beautiful, seems-like-new camera that I cannot afford to go over this limit unless it is something very, very special. So far I have only seen one of these special cameras, going for a snip at two hundred and twenty Euro (I had to write that out in full, I mean, a flea market and such prices!), which I would love to have had, but could never afford.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: Vrede Box
Sometimes trying to bargain works out – you will recall the trick I pulled to get a camera a few weeks ago – but it is hard work, not just for me but also for whoever happens to be interpreting. I can often tell that I shouldn’t be looking or making an offer for something by the roll of her eyes but, at the same time, she knows me only too well and plays along. She also knows a few of my tricks, such as spreading my money through different pockets so that, when the bargaining is hard, I can pull my loose change out and look at it, show the dealer or stallholder that I really don’t have that much with me, perhaps a few Euro missing, and they usually accept the offer.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: Braun Imperial
What I found interesting to learn is that many of the people offering goods here find them on the side of the street. We have regular trash collections in all towns and villages – big or small, it makes no difference – for larger material such as furniture, as well as regular collections of old paper and other waste. At least one woman here goes through the boxes and bundles of paper once or twice a month to find old documents, artworks, negatives, photographs and so on. She makes a good trade out of what other people have thrown away. Another specializes in emptying houses where someone has died and the inheritance is seen as good when it comes to money and jewelry, but a waste of space for furniture, books and other smaller items. He turns up at the flea market in Bremen every few weeks, tips his truck out into a heap of stuff, and lets people sort it all out for themselves.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: Gevaert Gevabox
And me? I love to wander about and simply look. Rain or sunshine, it is fun and a good break from the stress of the normal day. Sometimes the stall holders remember us, sometimes we can start afresh and bargain anew. We have something to eat, sit in the sun, watch the boats travel down the river Weser, filled with tourists or wedding parties. We jostle and get jostled, jump out of the way of bike riders – who drive full pelt down the Schlachte no matter how many people are there and get annoyed when people don’t just get out of their way.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: Altessa
Yesterday we went a little further afield and visited the annual flea market in Hasbergen near Delmenhorst. This is a flea market which takes over the entire village, right along the main street, in most of the side streets and almost all of the front yards. Dealers and private people, food, drink, ice cream, a wonderful day out. Well, almost.
This year we had a small amount of rain to contend with. The start of the market, and we were there at about seven, was greeted by a twenty-minute monsoon which probably scared off several of the stallholders, there were quite a few empty reservations throughout the day, and caused everyone else to panic, trying to find plastic sheeting to protect their stands. Then we had warm sunshine and a good rise in the temperature until about eleven. And then…
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: AK8
I’m glad I don’t live in a country which has a monsoon season. They might be used to it, but not me! We tried to protect ourselves from the rain by cowering in the Lion’s Club tent along with a whole mess of other people, and still got soaked. The tent roof filled up with water, which then flooded over. Rain splashed between the several tents they had bound together and from umbrellas some refused to move out of your face. After that the market was over, earlier than anyone wished, but over nonetheless. Everyone began moving towards the car park area, which was open fields, and then trying to drive through the morass of mud to get back onto the small country road. Tempers were lost, children cried, people got wet and muddy and the police sat in the queue to get in to the village, to direct traffic, unable to get through to help.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis – Camera: Agfa Synchro Box
Yesterday I bought three cameras for a total of sixty Euro (Seagull, Braun Imperial, Gevabox). The other cameras come from the flea market in Bremen, and none cost more than ten Euro. Have I managed to strike any good bargains? Probably, but it is hard to tell. Prices vary according to where you look, and according to who is offering, so I tend to consider the price worthwhile if it is a good camera which I wanted to have, and the seller bargained or, better, allowed themselves to be bargained down to a better – for me – price.
Love & Kisses, Viki.