Cool vintage camera tees let you wear your photo passion proudly


posted Monday, October 8, 2012 at 6:55 PM EDT


I immediately knew that there was something missing from my life when I saw the Dodge and Burn website: a selection of t-shirts that celebrates my love for retro film cameras. I had gotten an email from a Leica lovers group announcing that a New York-based apparel company was now producing a line of Leica camera tees. And, of course, I clicked through. Partly because I was amused that the same folks who bought luxury Leica gear such as the Monochrome and the $50K Hermes Leica would deign to wear t-shirts. And partly because I'm always on the lookout for cool clothing.

Dodge and Burn's tees come in several colors and styles, emblazoned with illustrations of Leicas and a range of other classic cameras, including Hasselblad, Nikon, Canon and even Polaroid. Some customers have complained about the relatively premium price ($29) of the t-shirts, but so far they've been in huge demand, with one of IR's editors pointing out that select designs often sell out for short periods of time. (And yes, he said the classic Leica rangefinder t-shirt he finally received was well worth the wait.)

The company is the brainchild of photographer Ted Rybakowski, a man with a passion for analog cameras. You might say he's an unapologetic analogist and his t-shirts are a celebration of great old makes and models such as the Rolleiflex, Voigtlander Vitessa and others. He cleverly named his new venture in homage of the darkroom technique all of us learned in Photography 101, and dodge and burn is retained even to this day as a set of digital tools in Adobe Photoshop.


As I perused the Dodge and Burn site, something else caught my eye. Rybakowski not only proudly wears his company's t-shirts, but also his camera collection. This is a photographer experiencing the exhilaration of being in "Full Frontal Photographica." It reminded me of a picture (below, right) of the celebrated -- and usually very serious -- photojournalist W. Eugene Smith with arms raised joyfully in a "Full Frontal Photographica" pose, too.


Dodge and Burn Founder Ted Rybakowski

Photojournalist W. Eugene "Gene" Smith

This is the perhaps the true message of Dodge and Burn, as well as so many of the other analog photo sites I have reported on. It's time for those of us who have secreted away our collections of vintage cameras to celebrate our heritage of mechanical gear. And if it's not practical to wear a bunch of cameras slung around our necks, then wearing a cool new t-shirt sporting a historical Canon or Rolleiflex just might do in a pinch.

(Ed. Note: If you're a Hasselblad hound, check out the larger-than-life t-shirts that we featured on IR earlier this year.)

Photos courtesy of Dodge and Burn.