A Camera Large Enough to Live In

Craft & Design Photography & Video
A Camera Large Enough to Live In

If you’ve traveled the epic American landscape, you’ll agree there’s something special about the exploration of folk photography. Dennis Manarchy seeks to capture these Vanishing Cultures before they disappear, using his handmade 35′ long, 12′ tall, and 8′ wide camera, whose bellows and body resemble an old view camera. Built on a frame of welded aluminum, the camera is made of “veneers of recycled wood, leatherette, and detailed with brass fittings.” The lens mount is also a trap door to the camera’s interior, which is notably bigger than my NYC apartment! Each picture produces a 4.5′ x 6′ negative whose contact prints alone produce remarkable detail. The plan is to print the images two stories tall!

I can totally imagine this trailer making a pit-stop on the Playa during Burning Man!
The dark room trays needed to process the camera's negatives.

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[via Slate & Daily Mail]

8 thoughts on “A Camera Large Enough to Live In

  1. Tom says:

    Hey, that’s a pretty large format camera. Can you give us some detail on the lens that this bad boy has and where he found the film to fit this camera. Ansel Adams would have been jealous.

    1. Nick Normal says:

      hi Tom, I’m contacting Manarchy soon and will see if he plans on publishing some more-technical info – I too am curious. Will report back! Thanks for reading.

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks Nick,
    I have a what is called a Large Format camera. An 8″x!0″ Studio Camera. The camera in your article a “Camera large Enough To Live In”, should be called a GIANT CAMERA, a MEGA CAMERA, or some similar name……. Lol.

    I suppose others, over the years, have put together a camera such as this. Perhaps even larger. But the cost of B&W film for my 8″x10″ is staggering enough, I can’t even imagine what the cost of even one sheet of film would be for this camera and who would even make it.

    To think of the resolution of a negative of that size, with fine grain film, wow! I think the size and quality of the lens would be the determining factor on the details of the image produced.

    Thanks so much for bringing this camera to our attention and any additional information that you might find.

    1. Nick Normal says:

      I know what you mean about cost of film paper, eek! The articles only vaguely mention that Manarchy found a distributor, or more-likely someone to manufacture it, but didn’t say who. I also assume the paper is RC, not Fiber, because Fiber at this size would be ludicrously expensive, especially if you make a mistake in the developing process.

      I know of other obscura type cameras this big, built into rooms, but this is the first I’ve seen built on a trailer and transportable – I hope to see it someday!

      Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!

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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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