Victor Victrola

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    Assignment: PCA91 – Decades
    Date: December 27th 2009, to 3rd January 2010
    Image Tag: pca91
    From: cbushie (Christen)

    MISSION: Decades!

    DESCRIPTION: Pick your favorite decade and take a picture that represents that decade. You can take a picture in the style of that decade or a picture with something from that decade in it. Or you can take a picture and put some effects on it to make it look like it was taken in that decade. Be creative!

    RESTRICTIONS: You have to pick a decade that is 1980’s or earlier. Anything later is just too easy!

    Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
    Aperture: f/2.2
    Focal Length: 50 mm
    ISO Speed: 200
    Exposure Bias: 0 EV
    Flash: No Flash

    Not much to this. I mostly struggled with composition. I really wanted to get the flip side of the needle because it says Victrola, but the picture wasn't as interesting. The record label is blurred on purpose because it was spinning. I wanted it to look like a moment in time and not something from a museum.

    This picture is to represent the 1920s. This victrola has a patent date of 1918. I don't think this one is that old though. Probably early 20s. I love this thing and it seemed like the perfect choice to represent a different era.

    Crop, convert to grayscale, increase contrast a little.

    [Anthony T.] and Leela.a added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Shadeauxe 64 months ago | reply


      This is the other side of the needle.

    2. fotobird1 64 months ago | reply

      I actually enjoy the crop you went with, although I understand your reasoning for the other.
      For those who don't know what those black CD's play on (*sigh* my kids) I think the first one shows this better too.
      Amazing we take for granted everyone knows what things are just to find out..................we are old enough to know, but not everyone else is :)
      Overall a great image, and I am wondering if a crop including more of the Victrola would be better.............although I think that is just my own "want to see it all" coming out :)

    3. mags_Tag 64 months ago | reply

      pca I really prefer the out shot to the one at the top. the one you went with has that wonderful shiny metal arm and the out shot has a more muted, older look to it. I guess what I am trying to say is that the top looks almost modern to me due to the reflection-shine. I have one of these too and love it. What a treasure.

    4. cbushie 64 months ago | reply


      I too love this victrola. If I was allowed I would play records all day on that thing. Nice job on the composition. I like the BW as well, although I wonder what it would have looked like in a sepia tone...
      Nice job!

    5. Shadeauxe 64 months ago | reply

      I considered a bigger shot of the Victrola, but the problem was that the rest of the room is not 1920s themed, so I would have a hard time positioning it in such a way that there was nothing modern in the background. Maybe if I moved it in front of a curtain or something, it would have worked.

      Thanks for the feedback so far!

    6. bowtoo 64 months ago | reply

      Very nice idea. It is a pity that you didn't find a framing that pleased you with the back of the needle. I really like the writing there.

      This was a very good idea to represent a decade and you executed on it very well.
      Seen next to a fellow photo of the group "Photography Critique Assignments". ( ?² )

    7. HipChicklette (perenially catching up) 64 months ago | reply


      I like both shots, but like the second just a bit better. Agree with the other posters that the writing on the back of the needle, and the muted metal speak to the period. Definitely evokes a particular feeling and "sound" memory. Nice job!

      Seen in the group"Photography Critique Assignments" (?)

    8. The tamed shrew 64 months ago | reply

      Great choice! It certainly takes me back to childhood, when my first memory of music 'outside the radio' was my job of winding the handle on the record player! Needless to say I used to think it a great laugh to let it wind down and make unusual, funny, noises. :)

      I can see why you wanted the side with writing on, but to be honest, I like the fact that the record is revolving. It evokes more of the memories of that age - the crackles, the music, the rythmic noise of the turntable - yes, a great visual kick to other memories.


    9. Shadeauxe 64 months ago | reply


      You hit the nail on the head with what I was trying to capture and why I love the Victrola. It's funny to hear the records either too fast or too slow. It's hard know when you're done cranking. And the crackling is one of the best parts. It certainly makes you feel like it's another era. I have a player piano that's out of tune, but I refuse to tune it for the same reason. When it plays the old songs, it just makes you feel like your in a saloon in the old west.

      A funny side story. The victrola came with a bunch of hawaiian records. There was one that I really liked but it cracked, so I couldn't listen to it anymore. I finally found it on amazon mp3 downloads and realized that I'd been listening to the song at about half speed the whole time. The real version was so fast!

    10. The tamed shrew 64 months ago | reply

      Haha! It will never sound 'right' again. :)

    11. Shadeauxe 64 months ago | reply

      my husband made an interesting comment about the shiny vs the rusty. Actually both sides are rusty, it is just blown out in the "shiny" one.

      He said he preferred the shiny one because it seemed more like the roaring 20's. That made me think that he was right. One of these IN the 1920s would not have the rust and patina that it does now.

      So, it's interesting that people prefer the one that looks old which would be a modern day depiction of an item from the 1920s versus the one that looks like it's depicting an item supposedly in the 1920s because it's too modern.

      I am not saying anyone is right or wrong, I just like how people arrive at the different views. I guess that's the point of photography and art in general. It's about each person's own personal experience.

      Hopefully I didn't sound like a blathering idiot there. I struggle with getting what's in my head out into words sometimes because my brain thinks in so many tangents at the same time.

    12. [Anthony T.] 64 months ago | reply

      pca - I faved this shot a couple of days ago, but I've just had a chance to get back to it. I love what you did with this - the DOF, the B&W, it is just excellent and really makes me feel like I'm looking into the 20s. I do actually like the second shot better, but not because it looks "old", but instead because you can see the logo. My feeling about the assignment was to try to depict something as it looked in the era, and unless this thing was left out in the rain for a few weeks, it would still look pretty new in 1920. Anyway, I like both shots, because of what you did with them to bring back the era - you could've submitted either one.
      Seen in the group"Photography Critique Assignments" ( ?² )

    13. Shadeauxe 64 months ago | reply

      Thanks! One day I'll try to get a whole ambient shot. I just don't have the furniture to back it up. I don't smoke, but I feel like it needs a lit cigarette and some type of drink.

    14. Leela.a 64 months ago | reply

      Great shots!

    15. summerspot 64 months ago | reply

      The outtake feels more authentic to me. Great exposure and processing. I like the darkness.
      In your main photo I find myself studying the reflection. It has a more modern feel (as in '40s or '50s).

    16. Ziggy, Curmudgeon at large! 64 months ago | reply

      I like both, but think I favor the one you've chosen. I remember as a child that we had a player that used needles like this. They used to come several to a packet, and we played the old 78's. I used to get close hoping to see the words come out.

      My brother has a very old Victrola, and some of the platters are at least a half inch in thickness.

      Sorry for rambling, it really is a super picture.


    17. rafuchoski 64 months ago | reply

      Great shot, I like what you tried to communicate with this and how it turned out, although I would have liked also to see a bit more of it. I didn't have the chance to have one of this at home or play with one, so therefore I am always intrigued to see a bit more of it.
      I prefer the shot that you selected as I feel the crop on the 2nd one is too tight, nevertheless they are both very good shots.

      Seen in the Photography Critique Assignments group

    18. Parsleycat 63 months ago | reply

      very clever idea! these old things we need to keep around, just so our kids know what we're talking about when we mention them!!

      The brightest and clearest spot is where my eyes go to first, which is the arm of the needle in the center of the image. I think the head needs to be a little brighter.

      Otherwise, I'm delighted to see this and think you did well with the difficult subject you chose!

      Terri :)

    19. abaranda 63 months ago | reply

      This definitely has a vintage look!

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