The Barcelona Underwater Camera Museum (BUCaM) was initiated in December 2007 with the acquisition of its first underwater camera.
A few days before Xmas 2007, Andrés Clarós discovered on an auction website a mythical underwater camera to add to the same showcase where he had his Nikonos II, IV-A and V which he had used during many years. A great mistake!!! Never put two or more objects that you like in a display cabinet….unexplainably they start to multiply like “silent Gremlins”….but he did not know it yet!
Andrés “played” for a few minutes with his computer and typed the 11 letters that would become fatal: “Calypsophot”
After this first Calypsophot, there would be others with the same name, almost forty, with enough small variations to be of interest to the history of UW cameras. The second challenge was to have the complete collection of the Nikonos series. From the first Nikonos to the latest Nikonos RS, many of them new and in the original boxes, including some prototypes, there are now more than 100 Nikonos cameras. In addition, he has all the lenses and accessories manufactured by Nikon or by other brands for Nikonos like the very rare stereo lenses prototypes for Nikonos made by Marin Solar or the different Schulke UW Wide Angle Lens Housings for adapting the above water 12mm lens to the different Nikonos cameras. Also all brands and models of flash, both bulbs and electronics, made for the Nikonos series as well as Extension Tubes and close-up lenses from worldwide brands and, what is most extraordinary, is that he has an impressive stock of spare parts, all the different Nikonos technical services booklets and the original Nikonos tools for professional repair workshops.
Once the Nikonos series was completed, he extended the collection to include all brands of UW cameras. At the beginning, the collection was limited to the metallic housings, but very soon he started to collect all types of UW cameras manufactured by professionals or amateurs.
Since its origin, the aim of the collection has always been to have only analogical cameras, which means those which had to keep the images on a non-digital physical support like film (Photo or Movie) or magnetic band (Video).
After preparing several exhibitions Andrés realized that, in order to explain the history of the evolution of UW cameras, it is also necessary to show the public, not only the old cameras, but the current and future ones.
Since its beginning in 2007 and during these first 10 years of life, he has obtained many items bought from individual sellers on internet sites as well as buying whole collections from other collectors and friends around the world (Paco Fraile, Christian Petron, Yves Gladu, Claude Rives, “Great” Baldi, Sid Macken…).
The public is realizing the importance of preserving a heritage which is very scarce. The “old divers” are looking on internet to find out what to do with the cameras they once used and to find a useful and dignified “retirement home” for their “treasures”. That is why in the last few years the number of donations has greatly increased.
All collections have to have a beginning and an end (otherwise it is impossible for one person to assume in time and resources). Currently he possesses more than 1000 units between cameras and housings and many thousands of accessories, spare parts and tools, books, instruction manuals, brochures and advertisements….The time to address his new challenge has arrived: To SHARE the knowledge of underwater cameras with the rest of the world.
Obviously in this new stage, BUCaM won’t abandon its first and main activity: to collect underwater cameras and devices.
Extract of the biographical article written by Steven Weinberg.