The Big Camera Photography Museum is an epic landmark in Western Australia that houses a huge camera collection; the life’s work of one man.
Charles Wadley built the entrance of his photography museum to look like a 35mm SLR film camera that houses the largest collection of working cameras in the southern hemisphere.
“All I had to do was make up a dummy lens to fit around the entrance and a dummy viewfinder on the top of the building then paint them up to resemble a big camera,” Wadley tells PetaPixel.
“In 2011, I doubled the size of the building to house more cameras and it is now quite a landmark in Western Australia and it is known all across the world.”
Visitors to the Big Camera Photography Museum will find some of the first cameras ever produced commercially to more modern models.
“Not only cameras but projectors, enlargers, processing equipment, magic lanterns, magic lantern slides, zoetropes, phantascopes, movie cameras, movie projectors, light meters, flash guns, in fact, anything to do with photography in any way,” adds Wadley.
One Man’s Passion
The museum is located in the small town of Meckering (a two-hour drive from Perth). Wadley moved to the area after a spinal injury he sustained while working for ABC Television in Melbourne forced him to move to a warmer part of the country.
“I looked around and found this building ( it was an abandoned service station built after the Meckering Earthquake in 1968) so I put in an offer to purchase it on the condition that I would be allowed to build a one-bedroom flat in the back,” he explains.
“That put a roof over my head and as I had a small collection of cameras I thought that I would make a photography museum. I had to give people that were driving past a reason to stop so I came up with the idea of making the building look like a giant SLR camera.”
Wadley says he receives donations from all over the world and Atlas Obscura notes that “there are informative signs around the collection with several parts of the museum giving a detailed spoken history at the press of a button.”
The Big Camera Photography Museum is located in Meckering, Western Australia. It is open from 09:00 until 17:00 every day, including weekends and public holidays; except when it’s closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.
More information can be found on its website.
Image credits: All photos courtesy of Charles Wadley/The Big Camera Photography Museum.