Kodak Funsaver Panoramic 35 disposable camera

Deon Reynolds

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Oct 31, 2020
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New Mexico
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Image #1). A modified Kodak “Funsaver Panoramic 35” disposable, reload with Kodak Tri-X black and white film.

Image #2). “Roper” created from one of these cameras.

Image #3). “Roper” installed on a wall in Carson City, Nevada. At 9 feet high and 22 feet across it’s the largest mural my wife and I have installed to date.

For me, plastic panorama photography started back in 1992, I was a photographers assistant back then, working in the studio, I was overhearing an art directors discussions about another photographer that was shooting portraits using a Kodak Portrait 35 disposable camera (w/bounce flash) reloaded with black and white film. This planted a seed in my pea brain. It was months later standing in the check out line at a grocery store where I saw a Kodak Panoramic 35 disposable camera, on display for $10.95. I picked one up, it was a few years before I started using this camera with any frequency, now it’s one of my most used cameras.

Kodak manufactured the “Funsaver Panoramic 35” disposable camera between 1992 and 1999. Made for ISO 200 films, they were usually preloaded with Kodak Gold 200 C-41 film. I would remove this film, saving it for other projects. These cameras have a two element 25mm f=12 plastic lens with a fixed 1/125 second shutter speed. I modify these cameras by using a fine file on the rebate edge of the image frame. Then I reload the camera with Kodak Tri-X 135-36. I get 15 - 18 frames per roll, as I shoot a blank frame between each image. This makes for easier handling in the darkroom or scan-bed. I’ve had early cameras reload for up to a hundred rolls, the ones I have now are only lasting a few dozen rolls before they give up from shutter failure. I keep several cameras around at once, marked with push amounts. With full “Kodak Light” I need to pull process Tri-X film to ISO 200, a little over cast, I process normal and so on for different lighting conditions.

I created the image “Roper” at the Green Springs Ranch in central Nevada. Having been to the ranch many times before, we thought we were traveling an hour from our house in Eureka, Nevada to photograph a derelict ranch with interesting corrals and out buildings, mostly in extreme decay. So, we were shocked to find a small group of cowboys and cowgirls branding calves (the cowgirl turned out to be a world champion roper, a joy to watch her put everyone to shame). Since we showed up in a white 4x4 pick up truck, they thought we were the BLM, once they found out we were photographers they came out and invited us to stay and photograph as long as we wanted and from anywhere we wanted. I shot every roll of film I brought and helped them with their beer after the last calf was branded.

The first large scale wheat paste murals Trish and I installed where done with traditional wheat paste glue (home made water and flower mix for glue). This is very cheap and easy to make, but starts to disintegrate within six months or so depending on exposure to the elements. However, on this mural the client wanted a longer life so we used wall paper glue instead of wheat paste. Traditional wheat paste glue lasts about one season and the wall paper glue has lasted over two years now. It faces west and is blasted with afternoon sun almost everyday. I make the prints myself using an Epson 24 inch printer using archival 20 lb. bond paper (for archival blue prints). I scan the little negative as large as my Epson V-700 scanner will go (about 120 inches at 300dpi), then converting the document from 300 dpi to 180dpi I get the size I need to print the image this big. I slice up the image in 24 inch vertical slices with a little overlap to help guide registration during installation.


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Wow! Terrific work - well done!

Interesting info on the wall glue as opposed to the homemade wheat paste glue. I agree these organic mediums have a shorter "shelf life" but can be fun to use.

Congrats on this project! Thanks for posting!

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