Captured in time

Bruce Helps holds up a Canon AE-1 camera, one of about 50 in his collection.

The Northmead resident has an impressive collection of around 50 cameras, 35 of which are in working order.

His collection includes a Kodak model 1-A British model (1903), a Canon AE-1 programme (1979), a Kodak Pocket Auto Graphic (1909) and the very first camera he acquired as a birthday gift as an eight-year-old boy, from his grandmother, Elizabeth Bates.

She bought him a Kodak Brownie 620.

The Northmead resident also has a camera from 1930, which has a Russian provenance.

Helps has his cameras displayed on four racks at the entrance to his business, Digital Imaging Services.

He previously owned Foto Centre, in Western Extension, which closed its doors two months ago.

Some 20 of the cameras were owned by Max Schmidt, a Swiss photographer who founded Foto Centre in 1953.

Helps inherited the cameras when he took over the business in 2003 and was the third and last owner.

The rest of the collection was donated to him by his clients after they had laid eyes on the old cameras.

He would welcome people who would like to add to his collection.

“I have no idea how big the collection is, but it is probably one of the biggest in Benoni,” said Helps.

He did not want to have the value of his collection made public.

Kevin van der List

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