Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gift It: Pic in a Box.

Pinhole cameras are magical. They are so lo-fi that little kids routinely make them out of oatmeal canisters in third grade, yet they can take incredible photos worthy of gallery space. The basic idea behind them is simple. You prick a hole in a light-tight structure that has some film inside. Then you place the structure in a light-filled space and expose it to something you want a lasting image of. Then you safely wind up your film in a dark closet and drop it in a developer's box. In short order you go and pick up your pics and marvel at your product.

Now you could just make one out of an old Quaker Oats container, but there are actually some super-cool pinhole camera templates available on the Corbis website.
The downloadable templates get adhered to an opened, flattened cereal box and then cut and folded and reassembled according to the directions. I'm not saying this will be easy, but provided you have an empty cereal box and some film laying around, it has the potential to be free. Also, how friggin' cool do those look? If you get through the directions, I'm sure the right friend, family member, or even stranger would be superbly impressed and grateful. Plus, they could possibly create images like the ones below which were made using these pinhole cameras and come courtesy of the Corbis site:

You'll notice that the pinhole pics have quirks and fuzziness and odd coloring, but that is the biggest part of their charm. Just be sure to acquaint your gifted ones with the finished pinhole products so that they don't have unrealistic expectations. Happy snapping.

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