|January 24, 2013||Posted by Photo GearHead under Cool Gear|
Every bit as important as making sure that the subject you’re taking a picture of looks good, is making sure that the photographer taking the picture looks even better while taking that picture. Am I right? A photographer that doesn’t look his or her best wont shoot his or her best when trying to capture that important image. Everybody knows this. Don’t they?
So, what’s a busy photographer to do? Just how can you be absolutely sure that your lipstick isn’t smudged, or that your hair does indeed look its totally bitchin’est while you’re embroiled in the fervor a hectic photo-shoot? How can a busy photographer find the time to fully employ such absolute necessities of a successful shoot? Since the very dawn of the photographic arts, photographers have struggled with this problem. Luckily, one German camera manufacturer applied its engineering ingenuity and answered the call; accomplishing what might have been nothing less than the total salvation of the very practice of photography in all of its forms — if, of course, we happened to lived in some alternate universe where such things mattered to even the smallest section of photographers whose portfolios weren’t largely made up of shots of themselves taken in bathroom mirrors while making a duck-face.
In or around 1956, Walter Kunik of the Kunik Camera company, out of Frankfurt Germany, designed and distributed the Kunik Petie Vanity Camera. In fact, Kunik made a few different strange and wonderful Petie cameras that did some pretty bizarre things — including a camera that doubled as a cigarette lighter, and another that was also a music box! Ah, but the pinnacle of Walter Kunik’s ingenious ability to make things that were also other things had to be the Petie Lady’s make-up kit camera!
The camera itself is housed in what easily converts into a make-up powder compact. Unbelievable? Believe it! Yes, by all appearances the Petie Vanity camera looks like it’s just another standard, run-of-the-mill, art-deco, faux marbled subminiature camera. But, a single and simple flip of a flap located on the front of the camera’s housing reveals a handy mirror, powder-puff applicator, and a convenient recess in which can be placed your favorite and most stylish finishing powder!
And, that’s not all! Please notice in the photograph provided of this fine specimen that two stainless-steel discs adorn the top of the camera body. These discs pull out of the camera’s frame to reveal two deeply recessed, hollow tubes. One of these tubes is labeled “film” and is actually a handy compartment intended for storing an extra roll of the 16mm film required by this camera. The other acts as an equally handy (and ever more important) place to store a tube of your favorite and most glamorous lipstick!
Yes friends, no stylish and fashion conscious photographer should ever find themselves without a Kunik Petie Vanity camera in their gear bag!
The item is up for sale at this location. The seller’s asking price is $1,250.00 USD and they’re taking best-offers — of which, two have already been placed at the time of this writing. I did some digging around, and information on the relative value of this camera isn’t extremely easy to come by. However, I did find some indicators that, as of a couple of years ago, these cameras, in good condition, were fetching anywhere from $600.00 – $1,000.00 at auction. And, that was from a couple of years ago — so, it’s no inconceivable that the camera might increase in value beyond the seller’s asking price in the not too distant future. Then again… it may not. There are also gold plated versions of the Petie Vanity camera that have sold for as much as $3,000.00 in the collector’s market. This particular camera, unfortunately, isn’t one of those.
At the moment, there is also another Petie Vanity camera up for sale on eBay, although the seller is asking over twice as much for that one. But, that one does come in uber-funky marbled green! I dunno… is green worth twice as much as brown? I’m not an expert on color values.
(The above image represents the camera in the second auction mentioned in this article. That auction is located here)