If you are a photographer with children, then you may want to consider sharing photography with them via the Bigshot camera. Founded in 2011 by Kimera LLC, the Bigshot is a build-it-yourself kit camera designed as an educational tool illustrating the science and engineering behind digital imagemaking. After building the camera, you take pictures using a wheel-like lens system that offers a standard view, wide angle and stereo prism view.
Created by Shree Nayar, a computer science professor at Columbia, the Bigshot was inspired by the 2004 documentary film “Born into Brothels.” In the film, Zana Briski uses photography as a tool to inspire young children who were born into Calcutta’s red light district. The film compelled Nayar to eventually create a prototype that is now in production and commercially available for $89 through EduScience, a leading maker of educational toys based in Hong Kong.
In addition to the camera kit, the 3-megapixel Bigshot has a cross-platform software that allows for enhancing the images, converting wide angles to panoramas and stereo photos to 3D anagylphs. Bigshotcamera.com contains concise sections explaining how a digital camera resolves light onto a sensor and a quiz, all easy to incorporate into a school’s science or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum. There is also a section on camera and photo history that demystifies optics and electromagnetism.
"The response from kids, parents and educators has been extremely positive," says Nayar. "We launched Bigshot just three weeks back. Immediately after, we were approached by the Center for Arts Education (CAE) in New York which is interested in developing an educational program centered around Bigshot. In October, they will run a pilot program with about 50 students in underserved schools in New York. If the pilot is successful, CAE plans to significantly scale up the program."
You can view a collection of images taken with the Bigshot online here. A percentage of proceeds from Bigshot cameras is given by Kimera to less fortunate communities throughout the globe. Bigshot is currently available in North America and in the coming months, EduScience will begin selling the camera internationally.