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Is this New Sliding Box Camera the First of its Kind?

Published: December 10, 2018

Cornwall College Camborne

A photography lecturer has developed what is possibly the world’s first transparent red Perspex sliding box camera, enabling images to be taken without having to use a darkroom.

Professional photographer Simon Colgan has over forty years’ experience taking photographs, using a wide variety of camera formats from 5×4 to 12×10.

Now Course Leader for photography at Cornwall College Camborne, where student numbers wanting to learn photography skills is at record levels; he has progressed his passion into teaching, after receiving a degree at Falmouth University.

“I’ve always tinkered with cameras”, said Simon “sometimes building 2 into 1, or removing as many parts as possible while still keeping it operational”.

After experimenting with the majority of film types to their limits, Simon started to work with wet plate collodion, a process from the mid 1800’s as well as x-ray film and large camera formats.

“It was my love of photographic film and wet-plate that can be handled in red light that gave me the idea for the transparent sliding red box camera.

“If I made a camera out of rubylith red Perspex, the light inside will be red, just like a darkroom; so I started to build one and it actually worked”.

After spending several weeks developing the prototype, Simon eventually shot wet plates, lith copy and paper film in it, producing reverse negatives without the use of a darkroom.

Simon concluded, “I have researched the web and it appears to be the first working camera of its type in the world, although I wouldn’t be surprised if someone hasn’t tried it before me”.

The camera can be seen at Cornwall College where his students have the use of it for experimental purposes.  His next project is to make the largest roll back camera in the world.

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