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Rows of Miranda cameras (PIc: Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)
Some of the Miranda cameras uncovered in the storage locker (All pics: Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)

When Kristen Cusumano was asked to clear up the belongings of her boss’s tenant in December, she was warned that it might contain a few cameras.

“My boss told us that there were some old cameras in there and that we could keep whatever we wanted as payment for cleaning everything out as long as we made enough to pay for the labour,” she told Kosmo Foto. “We figured there would be maybe 20-30 cameras in there until we opened the first box and it was filled with Miranda T’s and Orion Miranda T’s. Thats when we were like, ‘OK, there’s probably 100-200 cameras in here…’”

Cusumano and her partner Fridrik’s hunch wasn’t even close. She has, in effect, inherited an entire film camera museum with has now taken over her apartment in Massachussetts. “We had no idea that there were over 1,000 cameras and almost 1,000 lenses in there and that we were in way over our heads.

Boxes of cameras in storage unit (Pic: Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)
The cameras were part of a lifetime’s collection by Cusumano’s boss’s tenant

“At first it was great, we’d bring home a few boxes and it was like Christmas every time; we never knew what we were going to see in the next box. The excitement of unpacking each box, pulling out all these mint condition cameras, researching them and seeing what they were worth… it was really fun. After a few weeks we realised that the boxes of cameras were endless and that we were going to have to bring them home and find some way to organise them and catalogue them (we still haven’t finished cataloguing them). On New Year’s Eve we moved everything out of the living room and moved the vast majority of camera boxes into our tiny apartment and that’s when it really hit us.. we have way too much camera equipment and not nearly enough space.”

Minolta cameras and lenses (Pic; Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)
Just some of the Minoltas from the collection…
Olympus half frames and compact rangefinders (pic: Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)
The Olympus cameras include cult Pen half-frames, and several of the little-known FTL SLR

Cusumano is keeping the identity of the collector anonymous, but it is clear from her images shared with Kosmo Foto that they were very keen on several marques, including Minolta and Miranda. Many of the cameras appear to be in remarkably good condition.

“I have grown very fond of the Minolta’s and the looks of the TLR cameras,” she told Kosmo Foto. “The most valuable stuff we’ve found so far was a Minolta MD 135mm 1:2 lens that we sold for almost $2300, a Minolta CLE in a bag with two M-Rokkor lenses and a Leica lens, five Minolta SR-2’s, three Orion Miranda T’s (all mostly mint, one with a beautiful Zunow lens) 10 Miranda Ts, one of them with an Ofunar lens and another with a Zunow, Minolta XK, a Soligor Miranda 85mm 1.8 lens and much much more.”

Kristen Cusumano with East German and Soviet cameras (Pic: Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)
Cusumano’s haul includes a number of East German and Soviet cameras

She shared a raft of images with Kosmo Foto, showing how this lifetime’s collection of cameras fills every scrap of available space in her apartment. “Rearranging our tiny apartment to fit all this stuff took a lot of time and effort since we both work full time and I have my two sons to raise that live with us,” she said.

Cameras in apartment (Pic: Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)
One of the rooms in Cusumano’s now camera-covered apartment (Pic: Kristen Cusumano and Fridrik V Fridriksson)

Cusumano told Kosmo Foto she’d studied film photography at high school and “loved it” but had never collected cameras before. She has started selling the haul via her eBay shop and has so far sold about 40 of the cameras and about 50 lenses – a tip of this camera museum iceberg. She admits that a few of the cameras will stay with her.

“I’m going to keep the TLRs, the Minolta XK and probably one of each of the Minoltas, my boyfriend says he wants to keep an Orion Miranda and a Miranda T.”

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Stephen Dowling
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Francois Spenard
7 months ago

It’s like a dream come true, things you hear about; and then your article pops up… WOW! Good catch for them!

6 months ago

I’d be happy as Hell is hot

Charles Church
Charles Church
6 months ago

Petri was my original SLR camera and I would like to know what cameras and accessories they may have for the Petri line.

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Church