Videre: Build Review / by Simeon Smith

EDIT: I'VE HAD A COUPLE OF ISSUES WITH THE KIT, SO HAVE EMAILED KELLY TO FIND HOW SHE'S LOOKING TO RESOLVE THINGS. I'LL PROVIDE AN UPDATE AS SOON AS I HAVE ONE.

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I’ve taken a few photos already on the camera, but have yet to develop any, so this is a quick review of the building process and materials. I’ll post a second part of the review when I’ve actually got photos from the thing. 

Videre is flat-pack, cardboard, pinhole camera. It comes as a kind of press-out and build kit with a few extra parts.

I started typing “the only bits that aren’t cardboard are…” and then realised there are actually quite a few bits that are metal (clips and the pinhole itself), or plastic (pretty much all the functioning parts of the camera). 

So this is a cardboard camera body.

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But that isn’t a bad thing. Kelly Angood has been making cardboard cameras for a while now, and this is a middle-ground she’s struck between all-cardboard glory, and actual real-world functionality. 

I found the build to be pretty simple, much simpler than the Wintercroft kits I’ve built before. The kit comes with glue dots and stickers that are easy to use to assemble the camera, and the parts fit together well. It’s a surprisingly tight and sturdy kit when complete, something I’m sure isn’t easy to design with cardboard. 

That said, it still is cardboard. It kind of bulges at the sides, regardless of how many times you crease the folds, and a lot of the pieces just slot together without glue or stickers, so I’d hesitate before throwing this into a bag with other gear. 

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The good: 

  • It’s a lot of fun to build, and is totally reusable. I’m sure it’ll last a good few trips. 
  • It’s beautiful. It’s as much a card sculpture as it is a camera.
  • It’s locally printed and sourced in a way that a lot of manufacturers just don’t care about. 

The bad: 

  • Other than the novelty and fun of building a card camera, I’m not sure why you’d choose this camera over other pinhole cameras, or a pinhole “lens” for a camera system.
  • A lot of the parts are annoyingly just cosmetic. It’d be nice if “hood” of the TLR-style body had a small square cut out of the middle to help compose shots. It’d be nice if the rings around the pinhole were functional as an exposure guide. Instead these parts are just there to look cool.

I loved making this kit, and have enjoyed using it so far. As someone who’s never had the patience for pinhole photography, the fun of building the camera was encouragement enough to actually go out and make some images with it.

We’ll see how they turn out.