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Photographer Transforms His Garden Shed Into a Giant Camera

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Photographer, educator, and unusual camera builder Brendan Barry is continuing his educational series of isolation videos by showing viewers how to turn a backyard shed into a giant camera for portraits and other large format photography.

Unlike his previous videos—in which he showed you how to turn your bedroom into a camera obscura, take pictures with it, and develop the results—this one will require a bit more experience and equipment. The results, though, are on par with some of the most impressive work he’s done: like that time he turned a shipping container into a working camera.

The actual ‘building’ of the camera involved extending the front of the shed outward, blocking out any light leaks with black bags, cardboard, and gaff tape, setting up a makeshift darkroom inside the shed, and attaching an old 1016mm f/5.6 aerial reconnaissance lens to the front of the whole thing.

The actual operation of this “camera” is where a lot of the educational bit comes into play.

“I talk through the build and operation of the shed camera, bring together a number of the processes I experiment with and share some of the materials and approaches I use in my practice,” Barry tells PetaPixel. “[This includes] RA4 colour reversal, B&W paper negs contacted to positives, and shooting with direct positive paper, both with normal chemistry and with caffenol.”

Some of this he covered in his previous videos, but a lot of it is new, and it gives us a peek behind the scenes of a process he’s been perfecting for many years. If you’re at all interested in the how behind some of Barry’s incredible camera projects, this is it.

Scroll down for a peek behind the scenes:

Check out the full behind-the-scenes video at the top of this post for a complete walkthrough. If you happen to have a garden shed (and military grade optics…) of your own, it makes for a great tutorial; if you don’t, it’s both entertaining and educational.

And if you want to see more of Brendan’s amazing work with unusual cameras, dive into the PetaPixel archives for an overview of some of his most impressive projects, or check out his portfolio by visiting his website or giving him a follow on Instagram.


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

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