I love cameras! I always have. I used to love playing with cameras as toys when I was little, and always having my own camera - even though I didn't really care about the photographs. These days, I still love cameras, but because they just look so damn good sitting out on a shelf. Seriously, the camera and plant on the radiator are next to my bed and every morning I wake up and look at how pretty and think how great of day it will be and then I stand up and the horror of life begins.
I'm sure you're like, "oh Curtis, I don't want to spend $45 on a camera", which is just stupid to say but still - older cameras are everywhere! If you're lucky you can grab some at thrift shops or yard sales, or you can find some in amazing condition at markets. Another great option is go to family that might have some old ones lying around a box. Don't just go to them for hand me down furniture - go to them for the good stuff! Cameras don't even have to be "old". A basic film camera from 1999 looks just as good on your shelf as one from the 70s.
Larger cameras can easily hold their own on a shelf without other objects. It can give a nice clean, modern look even with a 50 year old camera. Lets be real though, everyone is always happier with friends, and a couple of drinks.
Since cameras are usually very simple with their coloring they contrast against lighter colors, and wood of any stain color very well.
A couple of the cameras I have displayed came with cases but it's pretty hard to have them looking cute while dressed in their case - but fear not! Most cases can look just as good, especially this brown leather one from the 50s form one of the cameras. It's just another way to add layers to your space (and no one has to know it's empty).
I love the brownie on the white shelf with it's circular flash - it just adds a little more shape to the shelf, all with one item. Double win!
So the next time you go to Grandma's for your weekly I love you Grandma guilt dinner, why don't you ask for her old cameras she's been hoarding in the basement for years.