We’ve had an analogue film to digital smartphone scanning device on Kickstarter, so here’s pretty much the reverse: a smartphone digital photo to analogue print photo enlarger on Indiegogo.
Phone-owning humans’ love affair with digital photography continues charging along at full tilt — fuelled by the ubiquity of cameraphones and the apps that allow easy digital photo remixing, whether it’s Instagram filters, or Frontback‘s dual aspect, or Rando‘s serendipity. All that snapping means a mountain of photos on mobile devices and social networks (not to mention sitting unloved on servers in the cloud). Sure you can browse them digitally, and repurpose a few as e-wallpaper, but this kind of photography is mostly a communication medium. The photos keep flowing to keep the conversation going. But what if you want to stop and linger on a few choice shots — and maybe even see real-world photo filters in action?
The Enfojer is a photo enlarger designed to make it (relatively) easy to translate digital photos into analogue black and white prints — so you can put a few digital shots up on your wall and get involved in the creation process yourself. It doesn’t reproduce colour, to keep the photo development process simple (and non-toxic), and does require you to get your hands dirty with dipping prints in and out of developing and fixing fluids but its creators claim to have streamlined the process so it’s suitable for Generation App. Once all the kit is set up they reckon you can turn an Instagram into a B&W artefact in a mere six minutes.
Enfojer can enlarge images from any smartphone (the cradle is compatible with phones up to 141 mm x 71 mm) or film up to 6×6 format. Prints can be created up to 20x20cm. The smartphone photo enlarger uses the phone’s own LED screen as the light source to expose the photographic paper. The device also has a wide angle polycarbonate “toy camera style meniscus lens” — which blurs the image slightly so it doesn’t end up looking pixellated. Think of it as an analogue filter (to go with your digital filters); “we tried sharper and better ones, but the results were too sterile,” note Enfojer’s creators. The rest of the required kit is classic darkroom stuff like photo developing trays, fluids and a red LED light to work to.
Of course there’s no shortage of services offering to pro print your Instagram photos for you, in a variety of ways — such as Piccolo, Instantgram.me, Kanvess.com to name three — but Enfojer has an educational/enthusiast angle since it’s DIY photo printing. Enfojer’s creators say they’re aiming the device at “budding photographers” who don’t already have access to a pro photo enlarger and are interested in learning about the dark (fading) arts of analogue photography. They also reckon it’s a cheaper photo-printing option than “average” photo printers. Which may well be true, since printer ink is apparently more expensive than blue diamond dust.
Enfojer’s Croatian creators are seeking $100,000 on Indiegogo to fund manufacturing costs of the device — but it’s not a fixed funding campaign so they’ll get to take home whatever the crowd decides to shower on them. Backers can pay to bag an Enfojer on its own for $200, or pay up to $450 for a full kit that includes several trays, tongs, a tray rack, darkroom light and a pack of photographic paper.