Every time, when somebody spoke with me about the Bivres camera fair, I tought: "Next year I'll go there!". I missed Photographica 99 so I decided to go to Bivres, for the first time. I went to Nice (200 kms from Genova), I took the plane to Paris-Orly (20 kms from Bivres).
I knew (trough the Exakta Club de France magazine) that - at 5pm - there was the general meeting of the Club so as soon as I arrived there I looked for a coffee (AGM headquarters) with a red tent. I found it immediately. When I was asking if there were Exakta collectors, a very kind man, Mr. Pelon replied. As usually it happens between Exakta collectors, I was invited at his table, he introduced me his wife and we spoke like old friends.
After some minutes the EICF members arrived. The Treasurer, Jean-Pierre Salanick, was busy for some time because everyone of us had to pay the subscription fee (less than 20 US dollars!).
Jacques D'Albera received a full appreciation for the magazine's quality, Bernard Gueant and his son showed their Exakta purchases, I gave my last Ihagee Jr to Michel Rouah, Patrick Quesnel spoke with me for a long time in a fast French, difficult to understand, while Andr Magnin was discussing with Clment Aguila and Michel Rouah. I was happy to be there because of the enthusiasm of this group of French Collectors, some of them wellknown all over the world. If you wish to look at their pictures you can reach the Exakta directory
At the end of the meeting everyone of us decided to go around tables to take a look of the fair.
I was surprised. Hundreds of sellers everywhere, on the streets, on the meadows, under tents or open air. The sky went suddenly dark, as often it happens in Paris, the air cold and it rained, then arrived the sun and then the a shower again. During a short no-rain time I met, as usually everywhere, David and Mahendra (MW Classic Cameras). They were so kind to show me 3 mint 66 pre-war lenses in their carton keepers, like the Schneider ones, marked Ihagee on top. I never saw this kind of keepers before. Then I met Toby Whitfield and Lionel Hughes, Francesco Gaggini and some other wellknown dealers and Italian collectors (Giuseppe Tansini was the first I met, as usually).
The day after I looked for Exaktas but I saw few of them: some Varex VX, 4 or 5 not many, 3 VP B (one of them badly assembled - chrome with black lens mount -, 1 prewar 66 (1700 US $), 1 postwar 66 (sold to a Japanese collector for 1300 UD $). Nothing else, so I am still looking for a VP B version 1.
And now the conclusion: when you are near to the end of your collection, you can start to collect collectors! I hope you understand what I am writing: I went to Bivres, I did not find any camera of my interest but I met new nice peole, like Francois Perroux (I knew him on Ebay but we never met before) and many of French Exakta collectors so my new collection is growing!
Thanks to Michel Rouah and to Clment Aguila for their kind gift (a signed copy, no. 29, of their last work Un Appareil Lgendaire, l'Exakta Real 1966 ). In the picture Michel Rouah keeps in his hand an unusual Exa Ib with a 24x30 frame.
Here after you can find some other pictures. I am happy to be (in the last of them) with the two authors of our "bible".