Metal and plastic are great, but these DIY cameras are stand-alone pieces of art
Most of the cameras we write about here at Popular Photography are made of familiar materials like plastic and magnesium alloy. But, the simple fact is you can make a camera out of almost anything. In fact, many of us as children took on the task of making a camera from an oatmeal container or even a match box. But why not something less conventional? A trash bin? Sure! A dead turtle? That's a little creepy, but why not? Photographers are creative people and their imaginations don't end, or even begin with the photograph. Here's a collection of cameras made from odd objects. And yes, a dead turtle really is one of them.
A Floppy Disc
The floppy disc is about as obsolete as a piece of technology can get, so it's nice to see someone putting at least a few of them to good use. The Black Eye camera uses a typical 3.5-inch disk, coupled with a plastic container to act as a camera. It uses typical 35mm film and creates images that are predictably lo-fi. The coolest part is that the sliding metal mechanism which originally allowed the disk to be written to and read from now acts as the shutter. Pulling it down lets in light, which exposes the backside of the film. You can see some sample images over on the official site.
A Turtle Shell
For their now-sold-out book "As Long As It Photographs It Must Be A Camera," Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs photographed a variety of cameras very much in the spirit of this article. You can read an interesting interview with them over at Americanphotomag.com. But of all the odd cameras included, it's the Turtle Camera that really sticks out.
Apparently the Turtle Camera does actually work. The camera itself places a large-format lens at the end of the shell where the head would normally be. There's a film holder cut into the shell in the middle. The shutter predictably works with a cable-release, so it seems safe to assume the Turtle Cam has a tripod socket in its belly. It would probably look just great sitting atop a taxidermied flamingo monopod.
At this point in time, there's something poetic about the idea of exposing photographic film using a printed book. One of our favorite examples came from an Etsy user who was transforming tattered hard covers into full on photo machines. The magnetic shutter was complemented by winding knobs that allowed it to make pictures using standard 35mm roll film.
Of course others have had the same idea. Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs who we mentioned back in the entry about the Turtle Camera did a similar project using a stack of books. It's a lot cheaper than using a stack of Kindles.