Monday, 9 January 2012

Pin Heads

A while ago bob featured in some really cool home made pinhole shots courtesy of Kenneth Stevens.We were inspired! We have always talked about making pinhole cameras and as is so often the case our ever enthusiastic carboard friend sealed the deal!

TC-1 (Jake)

Initially I was filled with reckless enthusiasm when Richard and I embarked upon our pinhole adventure. Having already made and, with varying success, used cameras out of matchboxes and insulation tape I felt sure that making a more permanent and visually interesting camera would be a piece of cake. All kinds of plans were frothing away in my little pinhead, extravagant shutter concepts, complicated loading systems, bells, whistles and tassels my camera was to have them all!

The only rule we imposed upon ourselves was the material we had to produce our cameras from. Therein lies the rub; my camera was to be a creation wrought in metal.

First I needed materials and the obvious choice, as a starting point was tin cans. Numerous and cheap there were plenty to choose from; so I got them all (well not quite). Coke cans, Spam tins, biscuit tins, pencil tins, there wasn’t a tin Richard didn’t have to drag me away from whenever we went shopping. It was suggested that I should use a tin can in an unaltered state to form the basis of the camera, that way it would be structurally strong and insured against any light leak; “poppycock” I replied, my camera would be a sleek space age shiny future tech creation lovingly and cleverly created. It would look like a camera not a tin of beans.

As it turns out bending metal, sticking metal to other metal; in fact manipulating metal in any way without the proper equipment and absolutely no experience or skill is really hard. Really hard. Unlike Richard instead of carefully planning then crafting according to those plans a working machine, I spent most of my time trying to reverse engineer luxury biscuit tins in the hope that somehow they would spontaneously become a camera.

The process of creating my camera became increasingly organic; I would find something that I thought could be useful and try to apply it to what was already built. The skeleton of the camera was made from various bits of a kids metal construction toy, then came the curved Spam tin sides, then various luxury biscuit tin revelations; the whole thing just started to build itself. Obviously functionality became a more pressing issue as the camera started to take shape, I began to apply tape and sticky felt to guard it against light leak as well as actually making the pinhole (in a tomato puree tin) and the shutter (a jam jar lid serving as a lens cap as well). It was both a much simpler and more complicated beast than I had imagined. Endlessly having to improvise and experiment was at the time frustrating but in hindsight rewarding as well. The amount of cuts I sustained during the build earned the camera an affectionate moniker from Richard: “Tetanus Cam”. The name stuck and the TC-1 was born.

Maybe what I thought would be something that looked like it was made by Spock for a dangerous away mission turned out to be more of a made by Forrest Gump for a special mission, but I love my TC-1. And although I can’t see myself doing it again soon, making your own pinhole camera is definitely worth it for that warm tingling glow you get when someone asks: “ Where’d you get that?” You:” It’s a camera and I made it from scratch.” Them: “Does it work?” You: “Sort of.”


So how difficult can it be to build cameras out of tin cans, spare guitar parts and sticky felt! well i will tell you! while jake fashioned tetanus cam i made what has become affectionately know as the pencil case. the main body of the pencil case is an mdf box hand made of course! the actual build of the box was relativlely problem free but from an aesthetic point of veiw i had made a tiny and very ugly bookcase. i did what any artist worth his salt would do and reached for the bright green spray paint! armed with a tiny bright green bookcase i started work on the mechanism for winding the film, i opted for a wind both ways design, fine as long as you can remeber which way you are winding! my design involved sawing the tops off screwdrivers, very difficult it turns out! after i had superglued telecaster volume pots to the screwdriver tops and held the whole thing together with a sponge i coated the inside with sticky felt. unfortunatley i realised to late that i should have added the felt last because after a bit more fiddling around the felt became less felty and more fluffy! now i had a tiny green bookcase with an interior similar to that of a hairy mans underpants! or at least thats what i have heard! now i just had to make the whole thing pretty. not an easy task i ended up with something that looks like a cross between an automated pencil case and a 1960's campervan.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bob's Slovakian Exposure

A few months ago bob was invited to Slovakia to put on an exhibition in a bus station! The idea came from a member of the bob community who had already done some really cool stuff for the project: a link up with Maximus beats, spreading the word of bob on his blog and of course amazing photos! So we were excited to see what he had in mind, so much so that we decided to see for ourselves. Having shipped half of the contents of our studio to slovakia we promplty sent ourselves! (ryan air was as close to envelope travel as we could get!)
On arrival at the Bratislava airport we were squeezed onto a bus meaning that within 30 seconds of being in slovakia I had already hugged a Slovakian man and sat on a slovakian lady! Luckily the bus journey only lasted another 30 seconds taking us only about 8 meters closer to the terminal, strange...We came out of the arrivals gate and amongst the taxi drivers holding name boards was one man grinning widely and waving a bob, Julo! After a quick drive through Bratislava we arrived at Zuzanas' huge flat for a dinner party. At this point I was already getting the feeling that our hosts were a lot more organised than we were! The food was amazing and we spent some time swapping hugely sweeping generalisations about our respective countries. As a slightly drunk self appointed ambassador of the UK I feel I concisely summed up the whole country fairly well! Next on the bill was an amazing band and we were all given wine bottles with beans in them; as I struggled to grasp this strange local delicacy Jake and Bob joined the band, of course, they were rattles! A rattling frenzy ensued (Also Jonny fox's solo on the Jew's harp deserves special mention...amazing).

The next day we met Matej at the lomography embassy in Bratislava and had our first look at the Lomokino. We enjoyed our lunch in the restaurant carrage of the train to Topoľčany, there is something so great about dining on a train. Having only ever eaten a sandwich on a bus in the past I felt that I was finally moving up in the world! Topoľčany was beautiful and we spent the day watching Julo and Zuzana organising everything. Then it was time to meet the mayor before being whisked away to Zuzana's parents' house in the mountains, wow!

Friday the big day. We spent the morning running workshops with local schools. Lomography donated a box full of cameras and film so the students and bob went wild with analogue cameras! At lunch we narrowly avoided eating a milk and egg soup, thanks Zuzana! The evening was amazing. Julo and Zuzana run Nástupište 1-12 which is a huge multi media exhibition space in a bus station underpass. You wouldn't be able to organise something like this in England in a million years! Imagine walking into a London subway to find a four piece band playing, wine, beer and goulash being served, analogue cameras everywhere you look....oh and about 200 people happily waving their very own Bobs! fantastic!

Bob loves you slovakia!!!

More photos

Thursday, 6 October 2011

So we were busy at bob HQ preparing more of bob's adventures when a country gentleman appeared in the door way. "fancy coming to a ploughing contest?" he muttered furtively. I was a little dubious but Jake was already sucking on some straw and bob seemed to be practicing his jaunty walk. so off we went to the Crowborough district ploughing championships! i know what your thinking, how can the churning of soil be anything of interest for two Lomo crackpots and a cardboard man? well it wasn't just ploughing! oh no there was also an incredible array of scarecrows (the badger with a syringe was my favourite!) a dog show and a vegetable sculpture competition (bobs purist entry of a completely unmodified hazelnut went down very badly!) Here are the photos!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Notting Hill Carnival!!

After quite a quiet weekend of relaxing in his envelope and planning his next video adventure bob decided to end his bank holiday with some excitement! the biggest street carnival in Europe sounded pretty good so we took all the photographic equipment we could carry and looking like a pair of eclectic camera stands we squeezed onto the tube. even bob, a man used to traveling in an envelope, felt a bit claustrophobic in there!

Everyone seemed a bit confused at Notting Hill Gate but bob followed a trail of empty pineapple and coconut juice cartons all the way to centre of the carnival! bob has seen a lot of things on his travels but he has never seen a huge Jesus made of disco balls! until now!!! in fact bob thought he had seen it all before he visited Notting hill!
The precession was amazing, but bob is pretty small and struggled to get to the front. we where determined though so we chased it!! if you haven't tried running through a crowd with two cameras around your neck a spinner 360 in one hand and bob and an xa 2 in the other while Jake chases you with his "50s Bakelite selection!" i don't recommend it!

Feeling a little flustered we caught the parade and bob pushed to the front! as soon as he made it through the crowd bob started to make friends and even managed to get in with the dancers. There was some incredible dancing to be seen and if bob had eyebrows they would certainly have been raised a few times!

Bob definitely recommends the Notting Hill Carnival to any one!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Gillian Mcleod and her peg leg bob!!

Bob is great!
He comes everywhere with me… work (he bought a cell phone from me & joined me
in training) school (he helps keep me focused and inspires
me to do art) church (he’s been in the choir, played the
organ, and preached)
...and most importantly he accompanies
me on my photo journeys (he made his
own pinhole camera and has his very
own Diana extreme mini)
He loves to wander.

He’s been to the beach where he made a sand castle, took photos, and got buried in the sand (he wanted to be a mermaid). Oh, and he’s been bowling; he almost got flattened by a bowling ball but moved just in time. Bob also met some friends on roof in downtown Kitchener, ON.

Bob is a great conversation starter and a great way to make friends. Bob is also a crowd stopper! One of Bob’s most exciting excursions was to the Multicultural festival where he was carried around in his own side saddle on my dog Theo; everyone wanted to know what the carrier was for and who Bob was!

Bob helped hand out water to passers by, then he met the ice cream lady, had a drink at the water station, watched the multicultural dancing and singing, had some meat, and met a parrot! It was amazing he was able to hold on for so long considering Bob had lost a foot a couple weeks back in a hip-waders mishap. But the best thing of all was that Bob got fixed up! The paramedics were very attentive to all his needs. They checked his breathing and gave him oxygen, checked his pulse, and splintered his one leg.

I am proud to say I am the owner of the one and only Peg-leg Bob!

Bob is well lived,
and well loved.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bob goes Glamping!

It has been pretty busy here at bob HQ so we decided to take bob on a relaxing holiday to the lake district, you know the usual: mountaineering, camping in a yurt, undercooked meats, enough sweets to kill a diabetic horse and enough alcohol to kill a perfectly healthy horse! We also paddled our way across a lake but bob and the cameras were both kept well away from the water due to a rocky previous relationship! Perhaps a water proof bob and camera would make a good adventure some day, but not today.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bob's fishing adventure!

How many times have you thought to yourself “if only I could get a photo of bob up there!” Well we have thought that, a lot. So we got our hands on a fishing rod and a video camera this week and bob was keen to explore the incredible potential of both! First we needed to perfect the look, 1 cheap hat 5 flies and a stolen gillet later we were ready to go! Bob needed a little extra weight so we tied him to a bag full of nuts and bolts and fired him into the nearest tree, over a telegraph pole, into fields and through a basket ball hoop! There is a lot more fun to be had with bob’s fishing rod so we will be uploading more photos soon. If you have a fishing rod and a cheap hat have a go; we would love to see the results!

Please let us know if you like the video as we intend to make more..... All feedback welcome!