World’s largest life-size self-portrait camera: coming soon to a city near you?


posted Friday, February 8, 2013 at 2:42 PM EST


It's a massive, one-of-a-kind camera but, until recently, it was thought to be too big to move. That may change if a project to create a more mobile version of the IMAGO1to1 life-size self-portrait camera gets the funding it's looking for.

The original IMAGO1to1 walk-in camera was built in Munich in 1970 by inventor and physicist Werner Kraus and artist Erhard Hössle but its massive size and steel construction means the nearly two-ton behemoth can't travel too far from home. It's currently housed in an art space in Berlin.

Seeking to share the wonders of this gigantic photo booth, which captures life-sized portraits on a special direct positive black-and-white paper produced by Ilford, with the rest of the world, the inventor's daughter Susanna Kraus recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a more travel-friendly version of the camera.

The new camera would be called IMAGOphotour and would be built of fiberglass and foldable canvas covers, rather than metal. According to Kraus, who is working on the project with her two sons, it would take just a day to set up and take down the IMAGOphotour, making it much more convenient for special events and exhibitions.

The IMAGO1to1, which is still in use, operates like an oversized photo booth with a special lens designed for life-size photography. Just step into the camera, face the mirror and get into position, then press the shutter release to capture a self portrait. Ten minutes later, a portrait of you comes out at 6-feet by 2-feet. (Ok, so if you're taller than six feet, maybe it's not quite life-size.)

Susanna Kraus with the IMAGO1to1.

Kraus says she was inspired to build a travel version of the camera after her father passed away last year.

"During my childhood I heard so often my father speaking about his dream of a 'mobile' camera IMAGO1:1," Kraus wrote. "More than ever before, I want to make our dream come true and build the IMAGOphotour."

Read more about the project and find out how to fund it on its Kickstarter page.

(Via Bit Rebels)

Werner Kraus with the IMAGO1to1 in Munich.
Self portraits captured with the massive photo booth camera.
Assembling the original IMAGO1to1 camera.