My cheapest camera is an entirely homemade pinhole camera (focal length 10mm). I built it when I was travelling in India and still using it to this day. I got a very small matchbox, some pieces from a can of coke I picked up in a trash, some pieces of band-aid from my own medical kit, a needle, an old spool from a roll of film as a receiver and a black felt pen. And of course some new roll of films: mainly black and white films (Kodak Tri-X and T-Max, 400 ISO, 36 exposures).
I work mainly with analog cameras. I own a Leica M6, Mamiya 6, a panoramic Horizon 202 and some plastic cameras including a 1 Euro Holga camera.
During a long trip to India, I was just fed up with the weight of my camera bag, the maintenance of my gear, thinking of techniques, the obsession to take an absolute "good" picture, etc. Something slipped into my head. I thought that I need to take a different approach. I needed it! To lighten up my load and my mind, to go out on a limb and to have more fun!
I built my pinhole camera to go back to the very essence of photography, to its roots. The results were not all that good, but that's part of the deal with pinhole cameras and cheap cameras in general. But it introduced me to such imperfections, to take a chance, to have more fun and to have a profound contact with people. It took some time and what a surprise really! It's like catching something, something from my own being, a true reflection of my feelings at that exact given moment. A work that I'm calling 'After Souvenirs'.
I started like everybody else, during the '80s, I didn't have enough money to buy a "real" camera, I used to travel with some plastic disposable cameras just to collect some souvenirs, some notes, just for me to look at and keep.
A French author (Nicolas Bouvier 1929-1998 ) wrote, "We believe we make a trip but soon, this is the journey that makes you or unmakes you". Over time as something happens to/in me, I felt that sort of "border" that I need to let go. To give and share evidence of that change in me using photography as a medium.
The best and only true camera you'll ever own is your eyes. First, look. Shoot only when you feel the need to. Looking is like a muscle that you need to feel, to train little by little. Let your curiosity take over! A good mental exercise is to try visualizing the results before shooting.
Using a cheap camera is the best way to start and learn about photography because you'll only focus on what's essential (the subject, composition, etc.)
Do you know that you can develop your black and white roll of films with caffenol (a mixture of washing soda, Vitamin C and instant coffee). You'll find how you can do too by clicking here.