People are ingenious in finding ways to earn a living from a camera, from weddings to wars and everything in-between, but without doubt the boldest and bravest were the Walkies. These were the men (I've never known of a woman Walkie), who spent 12 hours a day, seven days a week patrolling summer holiday resorts and snapping holiday makers, walking towards them.
|Found image taken by a Walkie|
The Walkie's I remember were extremely professional. They would appear in front of you with a broad smile and take a single photo. You were given a card with the name address of a shop or pub, where you could view your photo, usually the next day. They were always well groomed with polished shoes, smart trousers, white shirt and polyester tie (used to clean the camera lens). Occasionally you'd see the a showman Walkie, with a monkey or parrot on his shoulder. Men at the top of their game.
There can't be many people in Britain who don't have a snapshot taken by a Walkie, I have at least ten photos of members of my family with a walkie stamp on the back. It was always part of our summer holiday to find our photograph amongst the hundreds on display, either in a shop window or behind the bar of a pub. The photo was affordable and usually cost the same as a pint of beer.
The photos in most collections and those that are found tend to be like the example above, rather bland and casual. But like gold nuggets on a pebble beach, there are examples where subjects are caught in a moment of happiness that transcends the snapshot and becomes beautiful record of social trends.
|Walkie from my collection|
|Nikon F2 S Photomic - The Walkie Camera|
Nikon F2's are remarkable cameras, elegant in form and function, and you can fully appreciate the quality when you handle and use a well worn example. Despite the hard professional life the camera still works perfectly and there's no evidence of sloppiness, it walks and talks as it should. The heart of the camera, the shutter, sounds smooth, strong and its slow speeds are music to my ears. This is from a camera that has never had a service or CLA (clean, lube and adjust).