Giant camera frame

Portable Frame for Traveling Camera Exhibit

Traveling Camera Obscura Exhibit

Every once in a while, a customer project makes a special connection with our business.

This is one of those times.

Stephen Takacs is a photographer from Columbus, Ohio with a creative mission. He wants to get people to experience the inner workings of a camera. To do this, Stephen has created a giant camera obscura that people can walk inside to get a better understanding of how a camera works. Far from being just an exhibit, the camera actually works! It can create a 16" x 20" print that has a totally unique character. Watch the video below.


So why does this project make a special connection with Simplified Building?

Well for starters, Simplified Building America is based in Rochester, NY, the home of the once-mighty Eastman Kodak. Rochester is also home to R.I.T., a world renowned photography school. So you might say that building a gigantic Kodak camera makes a pretty strong connection with the locals around here.

Traveling Camera Obscura Exhibit - Ingenuity Fair

The primary connection between Stephen and Simplified Building is that he chose to build the frame for his travelling brownie from Kee Lite aluminium tube fittings.

In the video above, you can see a time lapse that features the construction of the frame. Stephen used the fittings because they helped him to build a structure that was strong, completely customisable, and easy to setup and move.

Traveling Camera Frame

Stephen wants to take his project further, but he needed support from the community. He kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to try and garner some community support.

IndieGoGo: Brownie In Motion

Traveling Camera Obscura Exhibit  - Lincoln NE

Below is more information about Stephen's project that unpacks a bit more information about the camera and his plans to help

Stephen Takacs has created Target Six-16, a human-sized, interactive camera obscura installation to give the public an inside look at one of the world’s oldest photographic devices. Takacs, an Ohio State University lecturer and local artist, has now taken his creation on the road traveling the nation - sharing his project with the Ingenuity Fest in Cleveland, The Columbus Mini Maker Faire, and The Midwest Society of Photographic Education Regional Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska.

A camera obscura is a box or room with a hole in one side that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside, where it is reproduced, and turned upside down to show us what our eyes see before our brains correct an image. With the help of the Columbus Idea Foundry’s assistant director, Casey McCarthy, and Brittany Lawson, a local artist and small business owner with a studio at 400 West Rich Studios, the three were able to collaborate, split up tasks, and create Target Six-16.

The camera stands at 5’ x 8’ x 7.5’ and viewers can enter it and experience a real time view of the world turned upside down through the lens of a camera. Part of Takacs’ interest with sharing his project is the opportunity to give back. “I hope to create experiences that are engaging, educational, and inspiring,” Takacs said.

On the front of the camera there is a lens and a small infrared motion senor that is connected to the camera shutter. When movement activates the sensor, an electric motor opens the shutter allowing light to enter the camera via the lens. The camera’s lens projects an upside-down image of the exterior world onto a semitransparent fabric screen found on the interior of the camera obscura. Viewers can physically move and manipulate the screen to alter the focus of the image or simply enjoy the view of the world turned upside down.

Designed from a full-sized prototype, Target Six-16 was constructed with portability in mind. It is comprised of aluminum tube, Kee Lite fittings, and a water-resistant skin. Designed like a tent, the camera can flat pack to a small size that can fit into a car. In addition to being an immersive sculptural art installation, Target Six-16 is also a functional camera, capable of developing photographs. The first images were made using large 16" x 20" pieces of ortho film that had to be contact printed to make a positive image.

Recently, Takacs has begun making even larger images using a special paper that yields a direct positive black and white image after chemical development. Takacs’ next step is fine-tuning a system to develop the images on-site using the camera itself as a darkroom for developing the images. The ultimate goal is to be able to produce 1.27m wide final prints out in the field. Besides being an educational experience for viewers, Takacs is using Target Six-16 to build an on-going story. “Traveling with the camera allows me to create new work,” Takacs said. “Every time I set up the camera obscura, I make a photograph with it and of it. The images serve as documents of an evolving performance.”


Want to see what else you can build with Kee Klamp?

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