Imogen's Cameras and Darkrooms

In 1905-1906 during her junior year at the University of Washington Imogen ordered her first camera , a 4x5 inch camera with an instruction booklet, from a correspondence school. Her father made space in the  woodshed for a tar-paper-lined darkroom lit only by a candle in a red box. Her next cameras were a new 5x7 inch Century view camera and a small Kodak which she took with her to Germany when she was awarded a grant to study at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden.


 In her 1961 Interview for the University of California Regional Cultural History Project, Imogen said, that she was "very simple  in her equipment". Her son, Rondal Partridge, remembers that her most frequently used cameras were:

• 3 1/4x4 1/4 Auto Graflex with a 7 inch Tessar lens (1915-1935)

•  8x10 Korona View Camera (1922-1956)

• 4x5 view camera (1923-1928)

• 4x5 Revolving back Graflex with an 8 inch Tessar lens (1925-1976)

• Super Ikonta B (1936-1946)

• 4x5 "Baby" Deardorff (1946-1976)

•  In 1945 she bought the first of three Rollieflexes,  cameras she used increasingly for the rest of her life.

Rondal, who joined her in the darkroom an early age, remembers standing at the sink on a box in the early 1920s. He reports that Imogen developed large format  film in ABC pyro and judged development by inspection. Small film was developed in a variety of developers, FPG, DK20, D76, Microdol X. Both her darkroom in Oakland and her darkroom later in San Francisco were in the basement. Her enlarger was a 5x7 Elwood and a smaller 2x3 Eastman Kodak Professional.