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Ian Kasnoff’s TrailerCam

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Ian Kasnoff’s TrailerCam

In the current age of photography, the idea of shooting with large format cameras may come off as dated, to some. With the reign of digital photography, it’s hard to imagine anyone lugging around the heavy and often fragile 4×5, or 8×10 cameras. But with every artistic venture, there are some that love to push the extremes. Enter: Ian Kasnoff, the man who turned a box trailer into a fully functional camera and darkroom.




Version one of his trailer camera began with a 5×5.8×8 foot trailer that he pulled behind his truck. Using an old enlarger lens, he created a camera obscura in order to test his theory about how the camera would work, and as a proof of concept. He rigged up the lens to the rear doors, and was pleased with the “crystal clarity” image that sprawled across the entire cabin of his trailer. Phase one was a success.

After running test trials with a handful of different lenses, he finally settled on his favorite — a 24 inch (roughly 600mm) Ektar Process lens that he bought from an eBay shop called Quality Camera. The lens projected his images better than he imagined, and he claims that he has “yet to see the limit of its image circle.”


With his lens found, and his basic testing a success, Kasnoff’s next course of action was to upgrade his trailer. He upgraded to a 12-foot-long trailer with 6’3” ceilings so he could include a developing area inside his camera. Thus: TrailerCam v2.0.

Kasnoff brought his TrailerCam to AIGA Austin’s Design Ranch and took close to 75 portraits and other photos. His method is simple, project the image through the lens at the rear doors onto a piece of ground glass that he’s fitted with a piece of photographic paper. He then takes that paper and develops it in his mobile darkroom — the resulting image a negative photo print. He then takes a new sheet and uses his negative print to make contact prints, inverting the image to reveal the positive final print.


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Most of the prints he makes come out to be 16”x20”, although with his dream of TrailerCam v3.0,  he’s working with Galaxy Paper to have custom large format paper made.

“With the Ektar I can shoot 4’x5′ images and getting as close to that size is the next step.”

Wherever Ian decides to go with his TrailerCam, it’s obvious that despite the rapidly growing digital industry, there will always be traditionalists pushing the boundaries, and experimenting with the hands-on art of analog photography.

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