In this week’s Lovesourced, Alex Boniface talks to Kelly Angood, the London-based creative behind Videre – a medium format, flatpacked, twin-lens reflex based pinhole camera that has taken Kickstarter by storm.
Firstly, can you tell us about your background as an image-maker? Are we right in that you aren’t actually a photographer?!
I started out doing an illustration degree at Brighton, who luckily were very loose with the term ‘illustration’. Thats where I made my first pinhole camera, alongside my life-sized Photoautomat and working Olivetti Valentine.
This led to a spell of time as a set designer – making props and designing sets for fashion and music shoots. I’d always been a maker so this seemed like a natural progression. Though, after doing projects with a functional aspect the throw-away nature of some set-design jobs bugged me and I started working on more personal work again.
Though I’m not a ‘photographer’ I’ve been into photography for as long as I can remember. A lot of my childhood was spent in the 1 hour photo with my Mum despairing as to why I’d want to spend all my pocket money on getting my (inevitably rubbish) photos back so quickly.
What first inspired you to create a pin-hole camera?
I’d always wanted a proper medium format camera, but knew I’d never be able to afford a Hasselblad or anything like that, so I did what came naturally and made one.
It made sense to solve the problem with my hands and just having the look and feel wasn’t enough. I wanted it to function, and having it as a pinhole camera seemed like an obvious choice.
Before Videre you had a design that could be downloaded from your website as a PDF and made by anyone. Your how-to video had over 60,000 views. Were you surprised with the response?
Yes! I knew the original camera had been on lots of blogs, but I never really expected the response I got from the download. But one of the best bits of that section of the project was having peoples photos arrive in my inbox.
The how-to video for Kelly’s original design, pre-Videre
What motivated you to develop your initial design into the Videre camera we see today?
Over time, I realised that a dedicated community had developed around the project and I felt that they deserved a design they could call their own.
Your first Kickstarter campaign ran into some legal issues as Hasselblad could argue your product was a copyright infringement on their own design. Having had to cancel your campaign, which had achieved over £23,000 in backing, how did you feel towards the future of the project?
It wasn’t exactly legal issues, it was just that I took some legal advice from peers and a few legal professionals that suggested that Hasselblad may have grounds for legal action. I wasn’t prepared to take this risk, and actually it spurred me on to make the Videre which I think is something really positive to take from a pretty negative situation.
I was worried about the new project to be honest with you, I really didn’t know if it would have the same appeal as the previous design but the community built around the project has been overwhelmingly supportive and I’m really happy with it’s progress so far.
We are so glad to see that you continued with your project! The new design is fantastic! Is it your own?
Thanks! Yes the new design is totally my own, it’s fair to say it’s inspired by an amazing history of cameras, but it’s very much an original.
You work in London’s Ad-Land. Do you think your experience in advertising helped you to create such a successful campaign?
I think my advertising experience has helped me in a broad sense, but I think the success of the campaign is largely down to the community and people sharing their interest in it.
How did you find the crowd-funding experience?
Well, I’m still learning, but so far I’m finding it great. It’s a fantastic source of support and the guys are Kickstarter are absolutely fantastic. I’d wholly recommend anyone who has a creative idea to get it up on there.
Can you pick your three favourite images you have taken with the Videre camera?
My favourites are definitely coming from a project I’m currently working on. In a nutshell It’s a portrait series shot with the Videre of the people who have inspired and supported me to continue the Kickstarter project, many of whom are fantastic designers, illustrators and artists.
I’ll be releasing the images alongside short interview from each person as a project update in the coming weeks- so watch this space!
What’s next for you and the Videre project?
Through Kickstarter I’ve have been introduced to some great youth and community projects and hope to be able to start to get a series of workshops up and running to help kids and anyone who is interested learn about the very fundamentals of photography – for me it’s great that this project can act as an enabler for something broader than just designing and manufacturing a product.
Besides that, I have lots of little collaborative projects in the pipeline with some exciting designers, illustrators and photographers!
For more information…
Her Kickstarter campaign video, and link to pledge your own support can be found below.