CHRIS KARFAKIS

Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, PA my interest in photography was piqued at an early age.  A profound influence was my favorite uncle who would hand me a camera at Christmas or Easter and direct me to take the family pictures. Each holiday my uncle would appear with a different Kodak camera and each time I would learn to use a different camera.

When it was time for college, I enrolled at Temple University as a Chemistry Major.  Alas, I left Temple University for an enrollment in the US Navy. In the Navy I purchased my first serious camera, a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic. This camera recorded my trips to Tennessee, Maryland, Florida, Alabama, and to Europe. After leaving the Navy, I married and moved to Easton, PA where I reside today.

Through the years I have collected cameras and the assorted photographic ephemera.  All types of cameras were acquired and utilized.  I used the 110 size, the 120 size, 220, 620-Size, 35mm and all the way up to 4×5 plate cameras. Everything was neatly displayed in its own display case until the family started to grow.  The cameras gave way to smaller, less obtrusive photographica, namely daguerreotypes.  My love for photography reached and morphed into the first types of images recorded on metal plates.  The early daguerreotype and the diligence that was necessary to produce a perfect image continues to intrigue me. My collection has over 100 images.

My collection has seen many rare and unusual early images on copper, on glass, on iron, as well as on velvet. These are all products in the time period 1840 to 1880.  I would attend trade shows not as a buyer but as a vendor.  I would travel into New York City or extend my trek to Washington, DC for shows.  Slowly the cameras gave way to a collection of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, carte d’Visites and cabinet cards.  Auctioneers I would buy from, invited me to speak on cameras and photography. I was interviewed by the local newspaper about my fascination of photography.  More and more groups would reach out to me to speak about the history of photography.

That’s when I realized that photography was underappreciated.  I compiled several formal lectures on photography which I titled “The Evolution of Photography”.  Then I copyrighted my programs.  The programs cover everything in photography from the Pre-History to Selfies.  I concentrate on the Antebellum Period when Photography took the world by storm and daguerreotypes ruled. Several of the momentous periods include: the proliferation of studios, the advancement of procedures and how the camera industry helped fuel the growth of photography.  And lastly, how photography weathered the storm of the Panic in 1837.

In the ensuing years, I have lectured at colleges and universities, high schools, civic groups, senior living centers and galleries.  I have been fortunate to have curated auctions, presented at museums, and I have been asked to write and present lectures that deal with the growth and how photography effects our daily lives. I utilize the earliest forms of photography (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, wet plates, dry plates, and albumen prints) to showcase how important the 19th century work is to our current lifestyle.

Memberships:

  • Daguerrean Society
  • Society for Photographic Education (SPE)

Note: The following 12 items I have selected to show are all images of people and places from the City of Easton, PA. One man, Reuben Knecht, Artist, is responsible for 10 of the 12 images.  He opened the first photographic studio in Easton in 1849.  The daguerreotypes carry his name, then he learned to make ambrotypes, and then he transitioned to collodion and albumen images. Here I present his Carte d’Visites, stereo views, cabinet cards and architecture studies. Reuben’s work spanned over thirty years, a fine testament to a dedicated photographer.

Monalog is supported by member dues and a portion of member print sales. All member prints are original and hand made, using various processes. Please contact member artists for further information.