Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bearing Witness to History

“Box Camera Now” by Lukas Birk
Bearing Witness to History

Here's the link to the NPR story.

Here's a link to the Afghan Box Camera Project website.

Some videos I've made about my own Afghan Box Camera project:

Here are a few portraits I've made using my own version of an Afghan Box Camera:

Afghan Box Camera, Harman Direct Positive Paper


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Storage Slot Arm Sleeve Pinhole Camera -- Initial Tests

64 Impala
'64 Impala

Storage slot arm sleeve pinhole camera
Joe with arm sleeve storage slot pinhole camera
My hand in the arm sleeve, puppet-style. In actual practice it'd be mounted on a tripod.

Storage slot arm sleeve pinhole camera
The camera front with shutter pivotted open.

Storage Compartment Open
Here's a view without the sleeve attached, showing the compartment opened. Notice the curved groove and screw on the right side, that limits how far open the door can pivot. The compartment is deep enough for over 100 sheets of 4" x 5" photo paper, along with a floating divider to keep separate the exposed from unexposed sheets.

On the front of this compartment notice the top edges of the two side rails. These have embedded magnets that engage magnets mounted inside, to keep the compartment securely closed. These two rails also form a space where the paper is loaded. You pull out an unexposed sheet, slip it in front of the compartment between the rails and close the compartment with a smart "click." The paper is now secured flat in the film gate, no slipping or bending of the paper due to heat or movement.

I'd sketched ideas for this camera years ago; I'd have to sort through binders of sketches to find them. But as I'd imagined using this camera, the convenience of having it atop a tripod would be immediately obvious as I reach into the sleeve and deftly flip the door open, then pull out a sheet and slip it in front of the compartment and snap it closed, then quickly make an exposure and move on to the next scene, where the tripod is again situated, the door opened and the paper swapped for a fresh sheet, and another exposure is made.

DelicateArch002a A blustery day atop Delicate Arch, captured on 8" x 10" paper.

I've used large pinhole box cameras in the past, cameras as big as 8" x 10" format, some using heavy and expensive sheet film holders, others using a side-accessed storage slot but requiring the bulky camera to be placed inside a large changing bag to change out the paper between every shot, at some makeshift seating position where I can operate the procedure with changing bag on my lap. I've done this several times while hiking up the steep rock face to Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park, with heavy box camera, stuffed back pack and heavy tripod. There aren't very many convenient places to sit during that hike. Having a camera like this, where the paper can be changed while situated atop the tripod, would be a heaven-sent blessing.

Here's a recent video on the making of this camera:

Another possible version of this camera would be for a 5" x 7" format, but using photo paper cut to 5" x 8" from 8" x 10" sheets. The extra half inch on either side would be where the film gate keeps the paper secured. It wouldn't be much large than this 4x5 version but would yield significantly larger images. Another nice thing about these kinds of designs is you can design them with custom-sized formats in mind, since they don't have to conform to a predefined ISO-standard film size.

Aunt Pat’s Royal 10 Typecast via Royal 10 with silk ribbon.