Museo Fotografico Simik [Simik Photographic Museum]

Now that so many of us carry pretty decent digital cameras with us all the time, it’s easy to forget that photography used to be pretty bulky.

Look at this absolute unit.

But there is a place you can go to remember when photography had some heft, by god. That place is the Museo Fotografico Simik, which grew all up into El Bar Palacio, one of the notable bars/cafes of Buenos Aires.


The cafe has the feel of a personal collection that just got waaaay out of hand, but as someone whose personal collections do trend that way, I found it a fun and interesting space.



The tables themselves are display cases, which is pretty cool.  And while there isn’t much information to go with the stuff, there is plenty to look at everywhere.



There are lots of folding cameras:


I assume the absolute unit is technically a folding camera.

And box cameras:



These cameras have some histories attached to them:


Number 22, for example, is a 1940 Kodak Crown Graphic from the USA that photographed Pedro Cahn.  Number 2 is a 1927 Zeiss Ikon from Germany that photographed human rights activist Estela de Carlotto, a Grandmother of the Plaza de Mayo, and artist Guillermo Roux.

There are some more recent cameras, too.  Look at these shockingly gaudy flashes:


My favorite things were the stereoscopes!  You can look inside this one:

No spoilers, but the picture is neat.


Scenes from the opera Le Trouvère, although frankly stereoscope doesn’t seem like the best format for an opera.



The very coolest thing is a large 1890s camera pointed at the front door.


If you look at the back, you can see the street outside, and it is rad:

I had a really nice visit; it’s an interesting spot for lunch.  The Museo is in Chacarita, and it is open from 7am (!!!) to 1145pm every day but Saturday, when it opens at 8am, and Sunday, when it is closed.  There is no cost to enter, but it is a cafe/bar, so have a meal to help keep the lights on.