Sam Cornwell, the man behind Solarcan has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of his new turbocharged ‘Solarcan Colours’.
Sam launched the original Solarcan around three years ago raising £25k, he has since sold 8500 Solarcans to every corner of the world, runs Solargraphy workshops all over the country, and has even been featured on BBC, Channel 4 and Netflix. He is also a university teacher of photography, has an ARPS with the RPS, as well as being former art director of Kielder Observatory and is a winner of the astronomy photographer of the year with a picture of the Venus Transit. So to say he is an expert in this field is a bit of an understatement!
If you aren’t aware of Solarcan, or even what Solargraphy is, I have previously reviewed the Solarcan here. In short – as I say in that review “Solargraphy is a photographic technique that allows for extremely long exposures that trace the path of the sun in the sky over the course of months, or even a whole year. A Solarcan is an off-the-shelf, very easy to use, entry into the technique that allows anyone to have a go at solargraphy with essentially zero photographic skills.
This was the outcome from my experience with what is now called a ‘Solarcan Classic’:
I speak to Sam quite regularly, and sometime earlier this year he told me he had started looking at how different photographic paper influenced the colours of the outcome. He has since spent many long hours, days, months (it takes a while to create a Solargraph) experimenting with papers to find three types that will give notably different results as follows:
Nebula: A striking, duotone picture of the Sun and landscape
Atlantis: Produces a cool blue finish
Eldorado: A warm, golden appearance with solarised halos
After backing the Kickstarter this morning, I messaged Sam to ask he a couple of questions.
H: Sam, I know you are slightly obsessed with Solarcan and Solargraphy in general, but what inspired you to bring this new range to market?
S: Lockdown. It was a real punch to the gut. My life was cancelled, workshops, shows, events, loads of real life activity I had been involved in the planning of or a part of cancelled over night. The Photography Show and the Analogue Spotlight we worked on together was just a small part of it for me. Almost everything I do day-to-day just stopped. But then, Solarcan sales didn’t slow down, they increased, quite dramatically! Families all over the world were discovering it as a tool for educating their kids, and with that the online community of users grew too. It was really inspiring, I wanted to give bring something more to this ever growing user base.
H. Education is something you feel strongly about isn’t it?
S: It is yes. I teach at a university, but I also have kids myself. I love to see how their young minds respond to such a simple thing as Solargraphy. So being able to help parents all over the world bring this to their kids gives me a bit of a kick.
H: This is a really simple process, so to play devil’s advocate for a minute, why not just educate people. Why productise it Solargraphy with Solarcan?
S: Anyone can make a Solargraphy camera, and I absolutely encourage people to try. It is undoubtedly a very easy process, but Solarcan is a one-stop solution. No extra tools, knowledge or photographic equipment is needed to create a Solargraph with a Solarcan. The instructions on the side of the can, it’s practically fool-proof!
I’ve got to know Sam well over the last few years, he’s a bit of a mad-scientist type, but if there’s one thing I know, he loves this stuff… he doesn’t half go on about it given the chance! As such, I’d back this Kickstarter to support his passion alone, but I also think it’s a great product, that just feels like something quite positive in an otherwise often unsettling feeling world. As such, he – as always – has my total support. Good luck with the Kickstarter Sam!!
If you want to join me in being one of the first to get your hands on a set of Solarcan Colours, the Kickstarter is live now, and can be found here