The New Color Photography and the Siciliano 6x9

I've recently been enjoying Sally Eauclaire's 1981 book The New Color Photography. Many critics agree that color photography didn't really come of age as an art form until around 1970. A little more about the book from the introduction:

The New Color Photography is not a survey, nor a history of color photography of the 1970s, but a critical text that argues for and endeavors to articulate visual and conceptual standards.

A large percentage of the images in the book are fantastic, and the text is quite thought provoking. I was quite interested to read the artist bios in the back of the book, many of which list the camera and film preferences of the photographers. A large percentage of these folks were shooting with 4x5 view cameras, a few 5x7 and 8x10 view cameras, a little bit of medium format, the Polaroid SX-70, and a couple of Leicas and Nikons.

There are three photographers listed as using something called a Siciliano 6x9 camera: Leo Rubinfien, Len Jenshel, and Rocky Thies. More on the Siciliano from Jenshel's bio (from 25 years ago):

It is a hand made, hand held 6x9cm camera built in Brooklyn, New York by Tom Germano. It takes both 120 and 220 roll film and houses a 65mm (wide angle) Mamiya f/6.3 lens. The camera is simple -- a roll film back and a 4x5 inch press camera lens adapter for 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. There are no mirrors, no meters, no timers, or even a rangefinder. It is sleek and fast for the format and enables me to stalk and maneuver as if I were using a Leica. And because of the larger negative, my prints give me sharp definition and little grain at 13 x 19 inches.

So what ever happened to the Siciliano camera? A Google search didn't turn up much info. The design site of Cliff Goldthwaite shows a few images, and reports that his camera was built with a 75m lens in an edition of 50 in the late 1970s. Duncan McCosker, an art professor in San Diego, uses a Siciliano.

Thomas Roma, the fellow who built and sold these cameras in the 1970s, went on to put out a few photography books and has been a photography professor since 1983. Not sure why the name is listed as Germano in the bio quoted above. I found a really great article about Roma on ARTnews:

He went on to set up the Siciliano Camera Works, selling the 6-by-9 and a handheld panoramic 35-millimeter he designed ("Good photographers wanted them—Koudelka, Peress, Friedlander," says Roma), but his head for business was not as keen as his eye.

That's about all I could find. No photos of the camera. I wonder if Mr. Roma gets email inquiries from camera buffs and historians about these cameras? I'd love to know a little bit more about them.

Update 10/12/2011: One of these cameras was apparently for sale on a Norwegian website, and there's a photo of the camera Rangefinderforum.

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