A few decades ago, before there was a modular camera strap “system,” there was what we called a “gadget bag.” The gadgets they had could be anything from star filters to radioactive (slightly) antistatic film brushes.
One gadget I recently revisited is the Panagor Mirror Circle Anglescope. It’s a flashy brand name equivalent to a bit of a spy gadget. Screw this onto the front of the lens. With the mirrors set at a 90 degree angle on him, when the camera was pointed straight ahead, it saw things to the left and right of him.
Of course, people assume you’re filming something in front of them, but you’re spying on someone or something else.
I saw it on the back cover of a photo magazine in the 1970’s and 80’s, but it seems to be still available today.
We don’t know who was duped by this contraption (we don’t use that word very often) or what it actually accomplished. I’m not entirely sure if it’s ethical either, but it’s a gray area of murkiness. Rest assured that you are unlikely to use this as a photojournalist.Even unethical image suggestions are bad for journalism in the “age of fake news.” It could be anything… candid.
My photographer friend from Tulsa, Robert, tried it out at the ECU basketball game on Thursday. The mirror reverses everything from left to right, so it’s not an easy task right away. Also, since it is not an optical element, the image quality is similar to that of a makeup mirror.
I had a lot of fun playing with this primitive photography technique, and it reminded me of the photo gadget scene half a century ago.