Whilst covering the revolution in Egypt two years ago I had the idea of a camera that could shoot in 360 degrees. I wanted to illustrate the chaos that was happening in every direction and my standard photographic kit wouldn’t allow me to do that.
In the time since then I have researched the idea and found there was a solution, but it involved rotating a camera through 360 degrees on a tripod or pole whilst shooting a picture in each direction. Obviously if anything moves during this time it would ruin the photo.
Clearly this solution didn’t meet my needs so I went into my lab/workshop/living-room and designed and built a 360 degree camera system, or ‘zero mm lens’ that will shoot a 360 degree photograph instantaneously.
Since then I have used it on the top of the Shard, the centre of Stone Henge, a Ronan Keating Concert, a meeting with Shadow Cabinet Ministers, St Paul’s Cathedral and pretty much anywhere I have been in the past few months.
It allows you to present the photograph as you would normally, but then it allows the viewer to move around the image to see what was happening in every direction. I think this is pretty revolutionary for Photojournalism (excuse the terrible pun…) as it takes away what has been a legitimate form of photo manipulation since the dawn of photography itself – what not to show the viewer. Now everything is viewable and as a result a viewer can learn much more about a scene than seeing only what the photographer chooses to show them.
Take for example this picture of Ronan Keating, from one angle the usual picture you would expect but as you rotate around the image you see the photographers in the pit and learn how they are working and the kit they are using. Keep going round and you see the faces of the crowd and learn more about Ronan Keating fans and much more about the atmosphere at the gig. Beyond that you can zoom in to see details and faces, or zoom out for a wider view.
Let me know what you think in the comments, and stay tuned because I’m planning to take this tech to some really interesting places…
Hold down your left mouse button and move the pointer around the picture to rotate. For the best view right click gets you a fullscreen option where the mouse wheel zooms in and out. On the keyboard zooming is done by ‘shift’ and ‘ctrl’.