[Penang, Malaysia] ~ Photos from a Camera Museum

All those cameras captured by its ‘great grandbaby’ the smartphone – 11.16.15

After morning was spent walking around to discover steel rod installations and murals around town, I had some more relaxed early afternoon at a museum on the same street as my hostel – one I learned about on that same day.

PENANG’S CAMERA MUSEUM is a recently opened two-storey venue for exhibition of vintage cameras. Compared to most museums, its specificity in its collection makes one’s visit more intimate and not as intimidating. This worked as an advantage on my end  as unlike previous visits to museums so overwhelming that I almost always end up hungry or with some headache (and I rarely get one!), this was palatable.

20151116_133657

What greets you

###

My experience with cameras is limited to digital one when I was in college followed by an attempt to play more with an DSLR a few years back until there were smartphones and action cameras. My visit to the museum is then more of the visual pleasure and an awe at the basics.

Located in an old building in Muntri Street, the museum takes up two storeys with the actual museum  on the second floor while the first houses the unmanned entrance (at that time) and a cafe. As such, the recommended path for the ‘tour’ is from the second floor down.

20151116_133916

Exhibition Hall

My first impression of this space is fascination how they managed to compress within the room a rather comprehensive history of cameras since the 1900s. Again, there is little I know about its history and how it has evolved but I did enjoy seeing the transformation – in levels ranging from the aesthetic to functional up to accessibility to the common people.

Most of the cameras were housed in glass and typically accompanied with descriptive labels, some with sample photos taken using such camera as well as news and ads about it then. The collection includes cameras from the folding ones to Brownies to film to digital ones including some flash bulbs as accessories. While most are in display, there are some units at the center table which guests can ‘experience’.

GOPR1723_1450391350238_high

An overview of the hall

###

20151116_134909

At a certain time, cameras looked like musical instruments

###

20151116_135008

And at an earlier point, people can already take selfies

###

20151116_135054

Finally a camera for the ‘common’

###

20151116_135115

What’s inside a brownie

###

20151116_135132

This one just looked like an amplifier

###

20151116_135409

Folding camera

###

20151116_135530

35mms 

###

20151116_135539

Another film camera different in form than most vintage ones we know today 

###

20151116_135607

Most expensive as a prototype to 35mm film cameras

###

20151116_135634

Endorsers as early as then

###

20151116_135750

Cameras not just for everyone, fun cameras came in eventually

###

20151116_135806

Before lomography are actual Dianas

###

20151116_135832

and Leica

###

20151116_135921

Then it was digital

###

20151116_135928

Cameras even went underwater – as in with this Weathermatic

###

20151116_135951

Flash bulbs

###

20151116_140147

This one looks like some glue gun

###

20151116_140229

Brownie with flash

###

20151116_140751

This one looks like a robot – a heavy one at that

###

20151116_140817

More like the modern DSLR

###

20151116_140846

Polaroid!! *drools*

###

20151116_141138

Century-old 3D

###

20151116_141337

Subtle selfie

###

20151116_141405

Filmfest

###

Obscura Room

Next to the Exhibition Hall is a room which shows how images are formed.
20151116_141759

GOPR1729_1450391350238_high

Based on this set-up, one can see how that image is being mirrored on a lens on that rectangular table

###

Spy Cameras

There is a room dedicated to cameras for espionage – with collection ranging from the discreet to not so.
20151116_142323

Spy icon

###

20151116_142459

20151116_142550Spyware

###

World’s Famous Photos

Next to the hall on spy cameras, there is a hallway where the world’s most famous photos are. I spent quite some time here, taking photos of photos. Across the wall are windows adorned with photos on film – exposed to the eye with light from outside.
20151116_142857

20151116_143120

20151116_143614

As with the world’s famous photos, there are many but here are what I liked more.

20151116_143346

20151116_143351

20151116_143402
20151116_143428

20151116_143452

20151116_143519

Some humor is also felt in this area as there are some comic strips and photos making fun of how cameras and film have changed over the years.

20151116_143201

20151116_143222

20151116_143255

20151116_143303

Dark Room

At the other end of the hallway is the dark room. I could not be sure whether the guided tour let guests experience actual film development. As for me who went solo, it was merely a terrifying experience – well, because it was dark and everything looked red.

20151116_144030

GOPR1731_1450391350238_high

GOPR1733_1450391350238_high

A red-themed room indeed

###

Pinhole Room

This room allows one to feel how it is like inside a camera. It is essentially a literally dark room with a hole on one side of the wall. As the light comes in, an image is projected on the wall opposite the one with an opening.
GOPR1734_1447862532092_high

Unclear but this is image is what was projected

###

The pinhole room is the last attraction on the second floor. This leads to a path outside with stairs leading directly to the cafe.

20151116_144920

This umbrella reminded me of How I Met Your Mother

###

20151116_145032

The Cafe

On the far end from the entrance is a place for cafe and some light food. There is also a souvenir stall on one side. As I am not a coffee person and I was not hungry either (yep, the museum did not overwhelm as to make me feel that), I didn’t hang out there. Just by looking though, it felt like a place for being alone and some chat among small groups. Judging by this board on the wall with notes as well, the place seems to have its share of guests who liked the place.

20151116_145048

GOPR1736_1450391350238_high

20151116_150201

‘Debate’ between color and black and white

###

20151116_150357

Before leaving. That face though

###

20151116_150509

Somewhere in the middle

###

Practical Details

Camera Museum is located at 49 Muntri Street. This is near famous street love lane.

They do have an official website if you want to check it out before going.

Open daily from 9AM-630PM. I was not able to try it but they offer 30- to 40-minute guided tours every hour from 10AM-6PM.

Entrance fee as follows:

  • Regular adult : RM20
  • Students/Seniors: RM10

20151116_145003

Advertisements

One thought on “[Penang, Malaysia] ~ Photos from a Camera Museum”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s