Special Guest at the Darkroom: Fred Tonne

An excellent story.


At a recent session of my Guided Darkroom Class, one of the students brought along a very special friend named Fred Tonne. Fred had been a photographer for the Milwaukee Journal during the 1940s-60s. He brought along a few of the cameras that he used during his time with the newspaper.

Fred showed us his “standard” Speed Graphic Press Camera, with 127mm lens. He also brought along an olive-drab military version of the camera, built to take a bit more abuse on the field. “Big Bertha” was a VERY special telephoto camera he brought along too. “Bertha”, with it’s 500mm/f8 lens, is a one-of-a-kind; his is the only copy of the camera! Fred also brought along his Fed, a Russian knock-off of an early Leica rangefinder.

While Fred loved the quality of the 4×5 camera, once he had a taste of Leica cameras in Europe during WW II, he came…

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About Shawn Brezny
Documenting the streets || Analog Film Photographer

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