Pinhole Cameras


Brett Henry sets up to take a photo through his homemade pinhole camera (Olivia Childs).

Cheyenne Fields, Writer

Many students here at Battle who have taken Art Foundations choose to go into Photography 1 afterwards.
The first project in Photography 1 is the pinhole assignment. Jody Spriggs, art department head and photography teacher, said that the importance of the pinhole camera before a digital is that it allows students to back up to a more basic approach so they understand the concepts of how light is captured through the photographic concept.
“The mystery of the pinhole camera is what makes students so fascinated and want to keep trying. I love to see the wonderment and miraculous quality of being able to create your own image because photography is different than other two dimensional forms,” Spriggs said, “Doing more hands-on projects rather than more studious things such as research gives kids more creativity and causes them to use more of their imagination.”
What is a pinhole camera? A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens but a tiny hole in which light travels through, also called an aperture (essentially a lightproof box).
After speaking with Spriggs about what activities the Photography 1 students begin with the pinhole camera assignment was most intriguing.
The making of the pinhole is quite simple actually, made entirely out of an oatmeal can, Coca-Cola can, black spray paint, and a make-shift shutter out of paper and black electrical tape. The pinhole camera/camera obscura was invented around 500 B.C. by Ibn al-Haytham, a scientist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. He not only invented one of the most simplistic and hands on camera, he also made significant contributions to the principles of optics, astronomy, mathematics, and visual perception. He has been dubbed the “Father of Optics”.
Of course the history of photography is important but most students use photography class as a creative outlet.
Gabby Langille, junior, said, “I think the Pinhole assignment is very original and creative!”
Projects like these that are more hands on may be difficult, but help students learn on a higher level.
Sandra Medina, sophomore, said, “At first it is difficult but once you get the hang of it; it’s extremely fun and I want to do more!”

Pinhole camera photo shot horizontal of the view from the windows across from the competition gym (Any Qui).

Horizontal photo of bicycle rack shot with a pinhole camera (Alex Talken).
Pinhole camera shot photo of landscaping outside of the A hallway (Meredith Jones).