In the 1930s, the New York-based photography equipment maker Irwin Corporation released a family of novelty cameras that summoned the sleek, crushproof look of the humble sardine can. Available for just $3 to $5 (according to 1940s prices) and sold largely through drug and dime stores, they were no doubt an inexpensive way for amateur photographers to take their hobby to the streets during the economic stranglehold of the Great Depression.
These old “Candid Cameras” inspired the latest offering from Lomography, purveyor of nostalgically minded analog cameras. La Sardina Splendour has the hammer-finish metal and elegant lines of a fresh sardine can, plus a cartoonishly oversized flash that’d look right at home in the hands of a 1940s ambulance chaser. Other charmingly featureless features include an 89-degree wide-angle lens; two focus settings; and a rewind dial and MX switch for snapping multiple exposures.
La Sardina was designed to commemorate “the early days of street photography,” Lomography says. And at $199, it has a (relatively) affordable price tag to match–so shutterbugs can channel the photographic traditions of the Great Depression in more ways than one.
[Images courtesy of Lomography]