Why re-invent the wheel? Symbolic as the archetype of human ingenuity, the wheel in its simplicity remains unsurpassed in practical function. This is why it is deservedly referred to in the famous idiom. Similarly, then why re-invent the camera? Well, the answer to that deserves the long version reply. Novelty photography is the obvious answer to this question, as James Guerin himself states that his quest is to find “another dimension and open up a world of original portraits.” The first result of that goal was a multi-cell pinhole camera. Gurein has now reprised that creation with a multi-cell pinhole camera upgraded to a version with lenses.
“When I saw the effects I could achieve with the pinhole multi-cell I decided to go and build a lensed version. I thought that the in focus and blurred areas would add another dimension and open up a world of original portraits,” says Guerin of the upgraded contraption.
The camera simultaneously shoots twenty images through its twenty lenses housed in twenty compartments. The upgrade features multiple 150mm focal length lenses arranged in a grid.
“Due to the nested box design concertina style focusing is possible from a distance of 300mm (where 1:1 magnification is achieved) to approximately 550mm (overlapping of cells occurs).” Guerin also claims that “accurate focusing is achieved with the aid of a simple ‘ground glass’ (perspex and scotch tape) and the shutter is a simple sliding plate.”
He adds, “I vary the aperture by placing custom ‘aperture plates’ that slide in front of the lenses. Of course the aperture changes depending on the focus draw, therefore I calculate my aperture for each shot by dividing the distance from lens to film by the diameter of my aperture disc (simple steel washers).” Only a camera distance to subject of 300mm results in a normal picture, with other distances producing the added effects Guerin is looking for. So far he has been using photo paper for most of his exposures. He plans to shoot with 8×10 x-ray film for future projects.
See his one-of-a-kind camera along with the multi-dimensional images it shoots here.