I build Franken Cameras.

I work as a professional food photographer in NYC and this is a project that I persue in my spare time. These are cameras that I build out of spare camera parts that combine pieces of multiple cameras into one functional camera with unique characteristics and funtionality. The lens from a large format 4x5 camera, bellows and body from an old polaroid land camera, and the body and camera sensor of a Canon dslr. The goal is to create something new and unique out of camera equipment that mostly just sits around collecting dust.

This process involves a lot of drilling, cutting, grinding and imagination to look at something and re-imagine a new purpose for it.

In order to truely master an art form you need to understand the tools used to create.

In pursuit of a unique way to view the world.
A long time ago I used to work for a photo and video production company in Manhattan. It was one of my first steady photography jobs after I moved to New York City. We worked horribly long boring days producing shoots for stupidly high paid fashion photographers and there was always loud shouting in German. Mostly obscenities I presume. But honestly I didn't spend a ton of time on set in that job. I mostly worked in the shop. This was in the days shortly after hurricane sandy when most of NYC and this companies production house was flooded. The day I started was the day they moved from the old shop into what was an old pizzeria and I spent the first month just cleaning saltwater out of everything.

But occasionally we would get an odd request from a cinematographer and I would get a chance to tinker with things. One such request lead down a rabbit hole to figure out the optimum distance to attach a set of Pentax lenses to a Red Epic camera in order to achieve infinity focus. From that project I realized that really you can attach any lens to any camera because really what is a camera anyways? It's just a box with a hole on one side and light sensitive material on the other and its doesn't really matter what goes in-between so long as it doesn't leak light. And even then sometimes you want it to leak light. A camera really can be almost anything. I had some old camera equipment at home that was collecting dust and I let my imagination go to town.

Pentax to Canon DSLR Adaptor Ring

This is the first Franken Camera project that I worked on but it's honestly not a project. All I did was buy an adaptor ring to mount a Pentax 50mm 1.4 lens that was collecting dust to my Canon dslr. These adaptors are readily available and a lens that you already own could be mounted to a modern digital camera. This is the basis of all of my projects and once you have one of these you can let your imagination wander.

This is an ongoing project with more coming soon.

Will Engelmann is a Food Photographer in NYC and Franken Camera is a project that he persues in his spare time. In pursuit of a unique way to view the world.

Check out his Food Photography Website
Thirsty? Cocktail Photography Website