Anchors & Anvils | Vintage camera’s restored in wood

A while ago I came across some beautiful restored camera’s on the website of California based Anchors & Anvils, they sell vintage camera’s hand covered in real wood and hand crafted genuine leather camera straps. I still have my first camera, an Olympus trip, not a really old one but it always brings back good memories. And some time ago I was trilled to find a box with old camera’s on the street, you might have seen them on my Instagram, old camera’s always intrigue me!

If you are a photographer you might love to have a look at the webshop of Anchors & Anvils, where you will find a small collection of camera’s and different handmade accessories. Austin finds his cameras in all sorts of ways! Yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, friends, and even online auction websites. “I find that the hunt for cameras is often a difficult one! Especially if you are someone like me who needs something that is free of dents and major wear and tear” he says.  

I found the camera’s really interesting and asked him to tell me some more of his background and the restoration process of the cameras, and how he get started with covering vintage camera’s in wood… 

I began collecting mid century modern furniture pieces roughly 5 years ago while going to school for photography. Over those 5 years I would spend countless hours researching prominent furniture designers from all around the world. On the weekends I would go to estate sales hoping to find my own designer pieces that I could treasure. Many of the designer pieces that I did manage to acquire needed serious attention and restoration. I began refinishing lots of modern pieces and became very familiar with working with all sorts of woods and veneers.

Over the years I have struggled with my two loves, photography, and my love for vintage modern design. I found that if I was fully devoted to my photography it meant I would have very little time to devote to finding new furniture pieces. I always wished that there was a way that I could combine my two passions.

One day I was looking at my vast film camera collection and noticed that they were all wrapped in the same faux black leatherettes. None of them really stood out from one another and there was no real aesthetic beauty to be found. Being a photographer I found them fascinating to look at, however, I knew others were far less attracted to them.

I began toying around with the idea of putting fun patterned wall paper on vintage cameras, and even using vintage fabric. Then one day it hit me! The answer was staring at me all along. I could borrow what I loved about mid century modern furniture (beautiful exotic wood grains) and combine it with the beauty of vintage cameras. After months of trial and error, and endless hours tinkering I finally managed to develop a way to achieve the look that I desired all along.

I have found that my film cameras really peak peoples curiosity. Every time I take my cameras out shooting I am constantly getting compliments and questions. While some true street photographers might knock the attention and find it distracting to their work. I personally find that reaction is exactly what I wanted! I finally have people who have never even held a film camera suddenly taking an interest in them.

The cameras them selves are beautiful enough to make people want to own one, use one, and experience using film as a artistic medium. If I can make people see film cameras as beautiful as I see them, then I am doing my part to help keep the medium of film around to hopefully see one more generation appreciate its beauty.

Thanks so much Austin for answering my questions!  Anchors & Anvils is on the look for a few more boutiques in major cities to carry the leather camera straps.