One-Minute Street Photographer’s Camera

A New Design Project

I was recently contacted by photographer Billy Baque from the Bay Area about a design project. He had become somewhat enthralled with the idea of a traditional street photographer’s camera originally based upon early ferrotype cameras. An interesting site for The Afghan Camera Project includes further details on the particular Afghan version of this camera. This is a street photographer’s portrait camera with in-camera processing that can produce a finished image for the customer in a span of as few as 5 minutes.

The camera is a large box with a sliding internal focussing mechanism designed to go from portrait distance to 1:1 copy distance. Internal processing tanks, paper storage and a darksleeve for access to the interior of the camera enable a portrait shot to be processed within the camera and washed outside of the camera.Once the paper negative is rinsed, it is fitted to a copy stand mounted to the front of the camera while the focussing mechanism is moved back to copy position. A photographic copy of the paper negative run through the same procedure then results in a positive print ready to deliver to the customer.

Photographer Chris Wroblewski produced a nice looking book entitled “Smudgers” about some of the photographers still practicing this kind of street photography around the world

Chris Wroblewski’s book on “Smudgers”

Before contacting me, Billy had done extensive research into the cameras. You can see his blog entries here:

The Cuban Polaroid
Building a “Minute” street camera
Accoutrements for a “One Minute” camera

I’ll post updates on this project as it proceeds.

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