About a month ago I got my hands on a few Vivitar 35mm SLRs (among other things) from a high school darkroom that had fallen into disuse. Two of them found new homes, however a third broken camera became part of a concept I’d been wanting to try – exploded view diagrams.
Essentially this type of drawing is used to illustrate the order and position of components in a larger assembly. Traditionally these are done as technical drawings and in more recent years; 3D renders created in CAD programs. I thought it would be interesting to try and replicate the concept using a real-world object.
Disassembly was time consuming but pretty straightforward, I kept record of all of the various screws, pins and springs so that in theory, the camera could be reassembled later (until I can prove otherwise however, I’m going to say that this concept kills the camera). The whole breakdown was done using a set of jeweller’s screwdrivers, a multi-tool and a soldering-iron.
I broke the camera down into basic elements, rather than a total disassembly to ensure the final image still resembled a camera – exploded-view drawing often require a lot of space to properly visualise an object and quite often bear no visible resemblance to the assembled article.
Once broken down, I assembled the larger components against a coloured background, the idea was to try and photograph as much as possible in a single image and then add in the additional elements in post. The floating elements were shot as a separate images using foam core to support each piece, they were shot on top of the base image so it was simply a matter of masking each new layer onto the main image.
About 12 hours went into the post-production
work to ensure everything looked as realistic as possible and everything was positioned correctly, all up there is 30+ different images and 51 Photoshop layers involved in creating the final image totaling around 24 hours work all up. I’d like to keep working on the concept in future too, possibly try a single-image-capture or something more complex.