NPR logo The World's Largest Camera Is On Wheels

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The World's Largest Camera Is On Wheels

It's not often that a photographer can literally stand inside of his camera. But Shaun Irving, who has transformed a truck into a giant, mobile camera obscura, does it all the time. And he says it's the largest, mobile camera in the world.

Shaun Irving's Cameratruck hide caption

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Shaun Irving's Cameratruck

Like many a great idea, the Cameratruck was conceived over beers — in Irving's college dorm room. Three years later, he bought a truck on eBay and put the idea to the test.

It's a simple construction: There's a small hole with a lens on one side of the truck's lightproof interior. This lens projects an upside-down and backward image on the opposite wall. On that wall, Irving hangs 4-by-8-foot sheets of photo paper, which, when exposed to 5-30 second exposures, serve as giant negatives. He then takes his jumbo negatives to a darkroom, or just a room that's dark, and processes them. The whole process, he says, takes anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.

Irving's Cameratruck prints are displayed in a gallery. hide caption

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The pinhole and camera obscura date back centuries. But the idea of a mobile camera in which the photographer can be the mechanics — that's novel. Irving received funding to photograph on a tour of Spain, and some of the photographs are below.

Irving takes time away from his one-man ad agency to photograph with his Cameratruck on the weekends. He's also finally devised a way to generate revenue for what was once a money pit by selling some of his enormous prints. Learn more about Irving's projects on his Web site.

Irving's Cameratruck is a simple device, with a hole and lens on one side, which projects the image on the opposite wall. hide caption

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