ever seen a Gowlandflex camera?

Peter Gowland’s 4×5 TLR camera for glamour photography

Toronto. My thanks to George Dunbar for getting my attention on this series of cameras (only about 600 made – too small for McKeown’s 2001-2002 camera guide).

The late Peter Gowland was a famous Hollywood photographer. His studio was well known for its glamour work that led to numerous cover shots and Playboy magazine centre-folds. Peter was known for making his own studio gear. His 4×5 and 8×10 TLR cameras were used to shoot many studio and outdoor shots.

The cameras began in the late 1950s – even Karsh used one. Perhaps the most famous TLR, or twin lens reflex was the Rolleiflex. TLRs have two lenses with their focussing linked together. By using a faster lens fully open for the viewfinder, the camera design ensured the smaller aperture taking lens was always in sharp focus. The design removed a major user complaint against other popular cameras with their tiny squinty viewfinders and rangefinders.

Gowland’s covershots included photos used for camera magazine, The November 1989 issue of American Photographer had an article on the cameras titled “Parallax, Anyone?“. While Peter and his wife Alice have been dead for a few years now, their website carries on covering exhibitions, famous photographs, and of course, the Gowlandflex cameras.

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