February 11, 2011

The Photo Master Mystery

A little while ago, I received a fun little present... and a challenge. Two identical plastic Photo Master cameras. Thank you, Genevieve!

The adorable Photo Master in all its tiny, lovable plastic glory.

I took the two cameras home, took them apart the very same evening, and found that in the pile of plastic and metal camera pieces, I had exactly one working part of each. A few minutes later, I had one (presumably) functional camera and one pile of... let's call them spare parts.

The aftermath.

The Photo Master camera is designed to be used with 127 film, which is hard to find nowadays. So I improvised. In a dark room, I pulled a 35mm film completely out of its canister and cut it free, wound it around a film spool, and attached the end to a second film spool (since I had an extra from the second camera). In the dark, I somehow managed to arrange it all inside the camera, close it, and tape up the sides with electrical tape to protect against light leaks. I was ready to go.

I carried the camera with me to several places, taking a photo or two in each place over the period of several weeks. I had no way of knowing how far to advance the film, so that was a bit of a guessing game.

So... the results from the first roll of film are in, and they are both exciting and mystifying. Exciting because I did manage to capture a few images... which is a victory in itself. But I am mystified by the fact that only a few images showed up on the film, separated by alternating areas of light and shadow. And the photos are all of the same place, even though I shot in several different locations. Hm...

Also interesting is the fact that the shape of one end of the film, which I had cut to a point to help me attach it to the film spool, showed up in a photo (see above). I'm wondering if the film didn't neatly travel from one side of the camera body to the other but somehow ended up in the main compartment. I may have to come up with another way to run film through this camera. I love projects like this: the more nontraditional the setup, the more interesting the photos may turn out. If I'm lucky, hehe. We'll see how the next round goes. I'm loving this!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you enjoyed the little present, and the results are fun and fascinating to see. I admire your patience and persistence, but most especially your results!