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Matinee: 'The Camera Maker' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

29 June 2019

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 208th in our series of Saturday matinees today: The Camera Maker.

In this 15-minute video you'll meet large format photographer, lecturer and camera builder Brendan Barry making a camera out of a watermelon.

It's a teaching tool. Like his excursions that turn rooms in abandoned buildings into camera obscuras. They teach the fundamentals of what a camera is.

The shutter may be a flap you open for a couple of seconds. And the aperture may be the size of a pinhole. And the direct positive paper film may be only ISO 1 to 3 (yep, single digits). And the camera body may be a darkened room or, as you progress, a not-exactly-ergonomic watermelon.

At ISO 1 to 3, an exposure in bright sunshine takes one or two minutes.

But after working on a camera like that for a while, you have an understanding of what shutter speed, aperture and ISO are.

And how to use them.

You'll certainly appreciate features like ISO 128,000, too. At ISO 1 to 3, an exposure in bright sunshine takes one or two minutes. And that's as fast as it gets. Overcast conditions require four to five minutes. And an interior lit by lamps can take an hour.

But you only have to stand still that long if you want to appear in the print.

Ilford was behind this Eploredinary production by Sarah Reyes and Daniel Driensky. It shows off its Harman Direct Positive Paper Sheets, a fiber-based, traditional silver gelatin black-and-white photo paper with a glossy surface.

You might be tempted to cut some down for your antique camera.

You can see more of Barry's creations, including the Darmoor Bootroom Mark II caravan (not to mention his solar-powered container cameras), on his Web site and on his Instagram page.

Think of it as a learning experience.


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