“Cuban Polaroid” is ultra-low-tech camera, darkroom all in one

Craft & Design Photography & Video
“Cuban Polaroid” is ultra-low-tech camera, darkroom all in one

My old pal Billy Baque takes us on a tour of one of his many classic film camera obsessions, the “Cuban Polaroid:”

It was a wooden box with the bellows and lens from a folding camera mounted at one end with a complete darkroom inside. Using photographic printing paper the photographer would expose a sheet of paper for the negative, develop, stop, and fix it inside the camera, then put a copy stand on the camera and photograph the negative (to obtain a positive), develop, stop, and fix, then wash the final print in a coffee can of water attached to his homemade tripod.

The technology apparently developed as a means for working photographers to produce souvenir prints on site, on demand, and at very low cost. [Thanks, Billy!]



2 thoughts on ““Cuban Polaroid” is ultra-low-tech camera, darkroom all in one

  1. nolartist says:

    Reblogged this on NolArtist.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).