Some Assembly Required: Lee Lira

This series focuses on those who take making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.

F.A.C. MKII 6 x 14 camera

Lee Lira, Melbourne, Australia

Several years ago, Melbourne-based photographer Lee Lira blended his woodworking skills and photography skills to create a pair of 6x14 cameras, the F.A.C. MKI & MKII. Their wide format allows for large panoramic images. Dissatisfied with 35mm film, Lira became fixated on medium format film and the level of detail in these larger negatives. With 120 film in mind, he took to his workshop.

The first camera, the F.A.C. MKI is made from European oak and fits a Schneider 135mm f/5.6 lens. The Graflex viewfinder is fixed focus and he repurposed the film transport parts from a Horseman 6x9 express back. The camera took just over three weeks to build and produced beautifully detailed panoramic negatives. With his first camera a success, Lira felt that he could improve on the design with a wider, more modern lens, and more refined ergonomics. The MKII model is made from Australian Red Gum timber and fits a Schneider Super angulon 90mm f/8 lens. The viewfinder is a Gaoersi 6x17 with a homemade mask to suit the 6x14 size. The film transport parts came from a Horseman 6x9 express back. Lira’s ingenuity and craftsmanship has resulted in crisp, large, panoramic photographs that show the world around him in exquisite detail.

View more of Lira’s work on his website.

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