A bit late to say it, perhaps, but I think I want to be Kelli Anderson when I grow up. The self-professed artist/designer/tinkerer is equally at home experimenting with websites and paper. It is this medium-agnostic attitude that’s resulted in interactive projects such as this amazing pop-up book that also happens to be a working pinhole camera!
Painstakingly developed from scratch by the artist and mass-produced by those wizards of dimensional marketing, Structural Graphics, “This is a Camera” is a colorful celebration of paper-folding precision at its best.
Those who somehow breezed past the title of the book (you’d be surprised) might well ask “What does it do?” Actually, there are two answers to that.
The first is the most obvious: it takes pictures. Simply open the book, lock the tabs on the pop-up camera, insert a piece of film and lift the shutter – that’s it! (Well, there’s the whole developer bath and printmaking, but still…)
“I wanted to make a working camera within an educational pop-up book — one that connects the dots between design and science/structure and function,” Kelli writes on her blog. “The final book explains — and actively demonstrates — how a structure as humble as a folded piece of paper can tap into the intrinsic properties of light to produce a photograph.”
The second answer to the question “What does it do” is a little more complicated. That’s because it’s not so much about the book as it is about where we are as a society today.
Every week seems to bring a new miracle of modern technology: the latest development in virtual reality, suitcases you can ride like electric scooters, bike helmets with airbags that deploy before impact. And for many of us, these elicit little more than a shrug at the seeming inevitability of it all. “How hard can it be to create these things,” you can’t help but think, “if there’s a new one every week?”
It’s this technological malaise that makes paper creations like “This Book is a Camera” so inspiring to us as designers. You might not really appreciate the challenge of creating an app like Pokémon Go, for example, but most of us have wrestled with getting the die lines right for a fold. (Incidentally, Kelli has graciously made the die lines for this piece available here, for those inspired enough to experiment with making their own camera book.)
As Kelli observed on her blog regarding another – equally impressive – project, “the paper device effectively demystified the exact thing that tech obscures.” That, in a nutshell, is the allure.
Not satisfied with creating these pieces, Chronicle Books brought out another book, “This Book is a Planetarium.”
What’s that? So now you want to be Kelli Anderson when you grow up, too? Sorry, hon, you’re going to have to wait in line with the rest of us 😉