Camera Catastrophe

It’s true that failure is inevitable in the process of designing and making, but whether or not you have a plan B is a different story entirely. My module group and I had no experience with pinhole camera-making. Our knowledge of cameras extended only as far as the everyday mobile (phone) camera or an instant Kodak. As far as research goes, we relied on DIY experts to share their intelligence on homemade cameras, studying YouTube videos like we were taking the SAT’s.

We had all the resources we needed


So why wasn’t it working?


At this point we were wasting enough tape to cover a small country. Our cardboard box was dilapidated under all the stress it was being put through, all the reshaping and redesigning. We had one more day to finish this thing. And we hadn’t even started.


My group members were just as flustered as I was, and the fact that we were one of the first to do this project in the class wasn’t helping either. Our plan, which was presumed well-crafted and detailed, was truly useless. I have never once considered quitting an assignment for this class. Except today. Whether or not the camera was pretty didn’t matter anymore. I needed a remotely decent grade to survive.


After an hour of improvisation and panic, we had a strange, distorted looking camera, ready for snapping some pictures. But because it was last second, taking an actual picture wasn’t on our to-do list. We got it done, but I was internally crushed because I’m not one to go with the bare-minimum. To me, this project was a fail. I thought over and over again that if I was told to redo the assignment, I’d make it one of the best home-made cameras in existence. I got a taste of true engineering and designing, testing what worked and what didn’t and making the best out of what we had. But as much as I didn’t like it, I knew it would only get harder from here. And if you know that quitting or getting worse isn’t an option, then you can only get better.


Every module after that, I told myself that I wasn’t going to put myself under any more stress than I needed to. I planned ahead, communicated with my group members and made sure that the first time for everything was the best time. But it is true that I had to fail in order to see this. I like to think that everything balances out, when something really bad happens then there’s likely to be something really good afterwards, same vise-versa. With epic fails, come epic comebacks.

McClain D.

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