The World’s Strangest Cameras

Plenty of us had that moment when we tried to justify spending a month’s (or few months’) salary on a fancy Leica camera. But who needs the newest point-and-shoot when you can have DIY cardboard camera obscura? In fact, who needs a camera lens? Plexiglass bits will do, or better yet, pinholes drilled in shells and organs. If you like them strange, this one’s for you. Behold, the world’s oddest cameras, conjured by artistic intent and by accident. What’s your favorite?

Prague’s Miroslav Tichý said poetry was a mistake and “for that you need a bad camera.” He fashioned various ones from shoe-box cardboard, tin cans, cigarette boxes, toilet paper rolls, and elastic string. His lenses were Plexiglas rounds polished with ash and toothpaste. He took dreamy, distressed, voyeuristic photos of young women around Prague, mounted them on newspaper and bits of taped cardboard and hoarded them in his hermit apartment for decades before being reluctantly discovered. He died at 85 last year.