Turns out you can make a camera from just about anything. Even a cardboard box with a hole in it. Because the process is so simple (as long as you’re not expecting to compete with Hasselblad), it gives creative people a lot of leeway to experiment with the photo-capturing process. Like, say, replacing your lens with thousands upon thousands of straws.
The “Straw Camera” is the brainchild of Cliff Haynes and Michael Farrell and from the outside, looks like a wooden box with a black cover. Upon closer inspection however, that cover reveals itself to a mass of drinking straws.
There’s a discrepancy with the actual straw count — multiple pages on the website state “32,000” in big letters, while the long-form description quotes 23,000. We’ll go with the larger value, as it appears in more places.
The straws act like tiny pinholes, providing a unique “view” of the subject. As Haynes writes:
The pinhole gives an entire image from a single point perspective. The Straw Camera, which is a box stacked with approximately 23,000 black drinking straws, produces a multipoint perspective from an array. The light viewed/collected by each individual tube is recorded onto the photo sensitive material placed at the opposite end. By going straight on to paper, it is a direct analogue process.
And here are some of the photos created via this process:
For those interesting in some more background, hit up Haynes’ detailed explanation on the official site.