Paper Cams
January 3, 2003 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Pin-hole photography is nothing new. 300 years before there was film people were using the idea of the Camera Obscura to project images onto nearby surfaces. Using the process to capture the images onto film was a simple progression. But camera cases break, and leak light exposing the film to early.

Enter Thomas Hudson Reeve who folds his own one time only cameras with the very photo-paper he presents as his finished work. Only a simple brass plate pinhole shutter is reused and developing is done in the camera by pouring the chemicals directly in.
Go check out PaperCams for more.
posted by KnitWit (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thanks KW, those papercams are so damn cool, what a great idea. Makes me wonder what might happen if you made origami shapes out of photo-paper, and placed them inside a large pinhole camera to be exposed.
posted by kokogiak at 9:31 AM on January 3, 2003

Not too my horn too loudly, but I have my 9th graders make their own cameras from carboard, tape and foil. The cameras take standard 35mm film and work surprisingly well. It takes them about 3 class periods to go from plans to finished product, and they're almost always in full denial that (a) they are actually making a camera and (b) that it will work.

In a way it's sad because, for them, cameras are something you buy not something that you can make.

For grins, I offered extra credit to any student who makes a functioning Camera Obscura. Nobody's taken me up on that yet.
posted by plinth at 9:31 AM on January 3, 2003

posted by Dick Paris at 9:56 AM on January 3, 2003

Cool post, cool idea.
posted by daver at 9:57 AM on January 3, 2003

I came across this site in a graphic design mag a few months back and I'm really attracted to it.

they're trying to get kids interested into activities that they may not have ever been exposed to, such as pinhole photography. A worthy cause if you ask me
posted by bradknapp at 9:57 AM on January 3, 2003

thank you for this post. very cool!
posted by condour75 at 10:45 AM on January 3, 2003

activities that they may not have ever been exposed to, such as pinhole photography

That is already the Pun of the Year.

excellent post!
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:59 AM on January 3, 2003

Mr. Reeve mentions folding and cutting his cameras in complete darkness. I wonder if night-vision goggles would work?
posted by rhruska at 12:12 PM on January 3, 2003

I wonder if night-vision goggles would work?

Not much light to amplify in total darkness...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:51 PM on January 3, 2003

You could work with B+W paper and a safe light first to get the hang of it. Then you can move to color in total darkness. (Developing color prints is a whole other ball game over B+W anyway.) Or practice with plain paper to teach your hands the routine.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:58 PM on January 3, 2003

rhruska: yes, it would work, since photopaper is not sensitive to infrared.

This site used to sell cardboard pinhole camera kits for 120 film, with a laser drilled pinhole - one that made 6x6 frames and one that made 6x9, which I bought elsewhere in Europe.

It works great, though now I don't use it anymore because it wears out quickly and it doesn't seem to be available anywhere anymore...

You can also check out the All Paper Camera (which works with 35mm film) made by the same company that invented 3D puzzles.
posted by titboy at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2003

great post, camera obscura remains the coolest photographic technique in existence, pinhole coming in at a close second. for those into such things, these people make incredible pinhole and zone plate cameras.
posted by cachilders at 3:32 PM on January 3, 2003

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