View Full Version : Barbara Morgan, Speed Graphic in Smithsonian Mag

tom thomas
20-Jul-2011, 13:38
Check out this URL for a nice photo of Barbara Morgan holding a Speed Graphic. Barbara is featured in the June 2011 Smithsonian, compared to Amsel Adams for her work. Beautiful photos of dancers.


I can see the camera is a Speed Graphic, just wondering what the cabled attachment is on top. Early sync unit for external lights? One cable appears to be going to the flash sync connector for the focal plane shutter. To get the dancer photos she's captured, she must have been using the high speed focal plane shutter.

Nice article


Jim Jones
20-Jul-2011, 14:04
The Anniversary model Speed Graphic had no internal flash contacts on the focal plane shutter. External contacts may have been added that were closed by the shutter wind key. The box mounted above the camera may have included a switch to disconnect the flash from the camera while winding the shutter. She was likely using low ambient light and a powerful flash rather than a high shutter speed. Double clicking the shutter release with the shutter curtain initially set on A gives an exposure of perhaps 1/4 second. I can't find my copy of Morgan's Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs to see if it has any technical information. She also did the photography for other books on dance.

tom thomas
20-Jul-2011, 16:56
Jim, obviously you are right about it being an Anniversary model versus a Pacemaker which does have the external flash connections. I'm wondering where the smaller cable is going that heads off to the left over the top of the camera. It doesn't reappear to attach on the lens/shutter itself.

If you have one of her books predating the 1980 reprint, it could be worth some money according to the article itself. The article mentions it sells for $500 at least, often stolen from libraries.


Brad Rippe
20-Jul-2011, 17:18
In the mid 1970s, Barbara Morgan visited our photography class at UC Berkeley. One of my classmates, upon viewing several of Barbaras prints said "Barbara, want to trade prints?" She did. Why didn't I think of that?