Self-Developing Camera Challenge

We have a special interest in the street cameras from around the globe that are able to act as their own darkrooms. Many people know them as Afghan Street Cameras, Camera Minutero, Cuban Polaroids, or any number of different names. 

These cameras are traditionally set up to make negative images on paper and then create a positive by making a photograph of the negative. However, this system is not the only to achieve a self-developed result without the aid of an external darkroom: A camera can be made to utilize commercially-available instant film; A camera can be designed and made using a direct-positive paper or even traditional darkroom paper using a direct-positive process. 

We welcome any way to create these self-developing cameras and we would like to see your response to this challenge so much we’re running a bit of a contest (not really, since there will be no prize other than you end up with a cool camera that can develop its own pictures). We want to see your contraption!

A couple of things to keep in mind: We love the process of building cameras so any sketches, schematics, models, maquettes, or mad rambling drawings are not only welcome, they are encouraged. Photographs of the building process are prized, as are images of and by the camera.

Ground rules: 

  • Lenses are welcomed but not required; this is a great pinhole project. 
  • A final positive outcome is only one possible product; we also accept cameras that can make negatives. 
  • The camera should be able to develop the image from within. You may develop in a separate device, so long as you can move your entire kit and develop in the field. Extra points for developing inside the camera.
  • Anything else goes.
  • Extra points for videos of the camera in use
  • You will need to submit the following
    • Your Name (and location, contact, and website info if you desire)
    • The Name of your camera
    • A description of your camera – both technical and experiential (as in: What type of film does it shoot, how does it work, lens, info; as well as what is it like to shoot with? how did people react…)
    • Pictures of the camera (extra points for pics of the build process, and / or the camera in use) – with photo captions
    • Pictures taken with the camera – with cations.

We will have a submission form available in the near future. Watch this space.