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How to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Giant Camera and Use it to Make Pictures


Photographer Brendan Barry has put together a detailed step-by-step tutorial that might help you stay busy while you’re stuck inside. In this video, he’ll show you how to take and develop photos by turning your bedroom into a camera obscura, and your bathroom into a makeshift darkroom.

To say Brendan is a pro at this would be an understatement. This is what he does. He’s turned everything from pineapples, to shipping containers, to the top floor of a skyscraper into “giant cameras” and then used those cameras to take and develop real pictures.

So, unlike some previous camera obscura tutorials you’ve probably seen, Barry goes beyond the fun experiment of simply turning your walls into a projection of the outside world. The 30-minute tutorial shows you how to black out the room, what lenses you can use to create the best image, how to project that image onto a piece of photographic paper, and how to actually develop the results in your own makeshift bathroom-turned-darkroom.

Obviously that last part requires some chemicals and trays, which you can probably acquire online, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble he does mention that you can use a screen (like a 5-in-1 reflector) to capture the image from behind using a digital camera.

You can take a peek behind the scenes in the photos below:

Sealing up the room
Various “lens” options
Lens options compared
Bathroom to darkroom
If you don’t want to use chemicals, you can set up a screen or scrim and take pictures using a digital camera.

The whole process, from start to finish, is too detailed to describe here, but it’s not overly complicated and it’s a great way to spend a morning/afternoon of your self-isolation. It might also make a great lesson in optics to try with your kids, and if you want to take it all the way through developing, a chemistry lesson as well.

If you’re interested, check out the full tutorial up top. And if you want to see some of Barry’s more impressive projects, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram.

Image credits: All photos by Brendan Barry and used with permission.