where there’s a will …

Willowbys ad for the Hasselblad – summer 1951

Toronto. … there’s a way. This old chestnut came to mind when I saw George’s email showing the famous NYC store, Willowbys, advertising the anvailability of Hasselblad cameras.

A couple of words of explanation: Willowbys was a block-long 5th ave landmark in the Big Apple last century when film was the ‘big man on campus’. This ad was released when the store was on 31st and 32 street. The 1950s photo of Willowby’s  is from Pinterest courtesy of the website “Vintage Everyday“. Willowby’s is still around, but now on 36th street and with an apostrophe ‘s’.

The Hasselblad, made in Sweden was a “cube with a lens” SLR design using Kodak, then  Zeiss lenses, focal plane shutters and interchangeable backs. Victor Hasselblad designed the camera after WW2 to further his birdwatching skills. Read the above link for a view of the histyory of the man and his camera, and the link to both Kodak and arial cameras .

Unlike earlier similar designs, the Hasselblad was both high-end and an exceptional roll film camera becoming the camera favoured for studio work. After film crashed in favour of digital cameras, collectors still coveted Hasselblad models. If you want some Hassy gear for your collection, come to our fairs, sales, and auctions (hopefully indoors once the COVID situation settles down).

Thanks to the efforts of my friend and fellow photographic historian, we are able to see once again (at least in historic ads) the wonderful combination of a high quality camera and store! The ad appeared on page 99 of the May 1951 Popular Photography magazine. Note that the magazine link is repeated here as a courtesy to our readers and that the same ad was the subject of a post back on January 12, 2018.

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