Flex your Double Reflex

To keep my fingers warm (and my image cool), I spent last night building a camera.  I forsook iPlayer (Don’t Tell the Bride) and sleep (don’t tell my mum) and all the other quiet pleasures of the night that involve a studied, slavering vacancy.  But no, not that.  The camera promised great things (see the blurry beauties above) and I promised I’d see if through to the end.  So, with one shake of the screw sachet, I was committed.

springs and things

I stayed up well past the Shipping Forecast, spitting and cursing over tiny bits of plastic, trying to force them to join together in creative spirit.  The plastic was stubborn and I was fast reaching my upper caffeine tolerance.  I wondered why I didn’t just get my old camera fixed.  But that wasn’t the point.  The point was to carefully build my tool, and take joy in it.  I was to be a master artist, stretching my canvas.  I was a fly fisherman, whittling some flourescent polystyrene.  I was a thirty-six year old man, stoically painting the last of my army of Warhammer orcs.  YES!

I was building a kit camera called the Recesky Twin Lens Reflex Camera which is supplied with a lengthy and hysterically cryptic instruction booklet, fronted by this greyscale image of what I originally suspected was an impossible obelisk that my future self would eventually cower before upon the camera’s completion, having spent so long in construction that I would have forgotten its purpose entirely.  It was a grim vision of the next three hours.

The Recesky Twin Lens Reflex, taunting me with an artist's impression of what it might, experts say, look like

Eventually, through much guesswork and kneejerk, I fitted it all together.  The same two approaches produced a fine diamante carpet, studded with pinged screws and springs.  Win, win.

And here it is, the finished thing (and dawn):

Here is the finished camera, posed to match the booklet's pouty model

At the beginning of this post I included a sample of what the kit box promises can be achieved with this ingenious box o’ magic plastic.  We’ll see.  I am just loading the film and I’ll be back to share the results in a few weeks.  For the moment, here is a tantalising view through the hazy, lazy upper eye of the Twin Reflex system (you look through the top lens, and take a picture through the bottom lens):

For those concerned about how long it took to build this thing, I had one of my own twin reflex eyes watching repeats of Father Ted on the telly, and the other searching for missing screws.  It was a fine, fine night.  No cause for concern.  I’m sure if you make it in the light of day and with both eyes trained on the tricksy springs, you’ll be done in the one hour estimated time the manufacturers suggest.  Oh, living the dream.

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