My goal was to explore the essence of photography by devising the simplest camera I could. Advances in engineering and technology have given us miraculous devices to make pictures even if we don’t understand the first thing about it. But The First Thing About It – what’s really miraculous - is the pure physics of the behavior of light passing through a small hole. It is worth knowing about. It is, actually, awesome.
So these one-shot cameras are just paper, tape, and a small square of brass foil. By building the paper box out of photosensitive paper I have no need for film. It is the film. The entire inside of the box is film. After exposure the image is developed by pouring the chemicals into the box and sloshing them around. The camera is then untapped and unfolded to reveal the image captured within.
Each Papercam takes one picture. It bears witness to the scene and is etched by the experience. The “camera” is an arrangement of the materials that allows the physics and chemistry to happen, just once. Then it unfolds to become it’s own finished product. The “mechanism” is gone.