In the early days of photography, cameras were seen as a luxurious novelty, only accessible to the uppermost tier of the bourgeoisie. To be able to own one was an enormous privilege, and if you happen to be one of the common folk, you'd most likely just drop by the local photo atelier. In the early days, that’s how it worked – no smartphones or disposable cameras to snap away selfies.
However, occasionally you’d find a photographer roaming around the streets with a big, bulky camera.
Photographers who usually do their work outside are the photojournalists or print photographers of the day — using large-format cameras to capture stories. Members of the News Photographers’ Association would even carry tripods with them to support their heavy cameras. Sports and paparazzi photographers dealt with the same burden, the cost of taking high-quality photographs.
Want to see more images of old-fashioned photographers in action? Check out the public domain archive of the US Library of Congress. The collection features many snaps of photographers setting up their enormous cameras to take images. Some casually chilling with their own kind, perhaps during their break time from the grind. Look closely and you can even find a few shots of notable photographers with their cameras, like Russell Lee’s camera piquing the curiosity of children. Most of these shots capture a behind the scenes perspective of photographers capturing important events and gatherings. There's also a sighting of baseball player Herman Schaefer using a 5x7 press Graflex camera in-game.
How about inspiring the community with a quick snap from your most trusted film camera like these guys? Upload a self-portrait on your LomoHome and become part of the film photographer archive.