My favorite podcast for some time now has been the Homemade Camera Podcast, hosted by Nick and Graham. It’s really the podcast I like to build cameras to the best and well, I really like. To. Build. Cameras.

The Homemade Camera Podcast is about as niche and esoteric as a podcast can get: two guys talking about the inner workings of cameras, cameras that they’ve built, and mostly, cameras that they’d like to build. It’s certainly not for everyone, but there’s absolutely a heavy overlap between photographers and tinkerers of all sorts and skill levels.

The people who are into it are REALLY into it and I’m one of those listeners.

For about as long as I’ve been listening, I had been sending in spirited rebuttal emails to most episodes. I would listen and often yell at the speakers put my two cents into an email, and send it off to Nick and Graham when I was done. I believe that the best course of action for normal people and celebrities alike would probably have been to ignore my emails, but Nick and Graham, while certainly internet celebrities, are far from normal people.

Foolishly, they wrote back…which turned into a few Skype calls, an interview, me manufacturing a few small cameras for Graham and a few more interviews on the podcast.

Recently, the guys asked if I would be a regular contributor to the podcast. I never thought I wanted to be a podcast host, but what they had already built was one of my favorite things, and to be asked to join them was the most flattering offer I’ve had in my entire life. I accepted in no small part because it just means a regular time to chat with Nick and Graham about Nick’s wild ideas and Grahams attempts to make cameras that seem to make pictures that look less and less like pictures each time.

I’m hoping to be able to help out with some of the technical tasks of podcast-making, and free up some time and energy to do some things that the podcast hasn’t done before. We’re running a challenge with listeners right now (until November) about building self developing cameras – cameras that would spit out a physical print, such as an Afghan box camera, a polaroid, a pinhole camera made inside a developing tank.

I think Nick is actually thinking up a wearable amphibious accordion darkroom camera where you need a snorkel to breathe anything but the chemicals from inside your own suit. Who knows what people will come up with, and I am excited to find out. I’d also like to start having guests on the podcast, to talk about their builds and experiences. I’ve lined up a few for this fall.

On to the point of this article: Nick and Graham also put out their first Zine, which is a collection of homemade cameras submitted by our listeners. These range from the practical to the not-so practical, polished, to well, not so polished. All are beautiful, all include descriptions of the cameras and the building and shooting processes and sample images taken with them.

The zine is available for free in PDF format at homemadecamera.com and will be available to purchase in a physical format at cameradactyl.com. Whether you’re a camera builder or enthusiast, I think everyone will enjoy this zine. There are some clever solutions to photographic processes that aren’t commercially available, and some great reminders that you can create beautiful work with minimalist gear.

I am really impressed and inspired by it, and I think you, dear reader, will be too. The gallery above shows just some of my favorite pages from the zine so you can see some of the amazing work, both cameras and photos, inside.

Enjoy!


~ Ethan

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1 COMMENT

  1. Interesting article. I too have built my own cameras = Two 8X10’s – and Four 4X5. One of the more simple designs of cameras that were made from 1837 to 1850 = “Sliding-Box cameras”. (I have numbered the models = 1838-A-3,4, 5 and 6) – As to the why I did these numbers = The 1838 was the year of the original Sliding-Box cameras. The letter “A” is for “Advanced” (as the cameras that I have built have a “Ground Glass” for focusing). And the last number(s) are the number of cameras that I have built to date. These cameras were made with the strict intention of the use of “Photographic Paper” as a film base. However I suppose that one may use true film in the holders as well.

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