The analog world loves getting creative by minimizing technology. Recently, we wrote about the world’s most environmentally friendly instant camera, but now there’s a new imaginative contender on the block: a 20 x 24 inch camera made out of 32,000 drinking straws.
The Straw Camera was created by UK artists Michael Farrell and Cliff Haines, a joint venture that started in 2007. Using a box stacked with approx. 32,000 black drinking straws, it produces a multipoint perspective from an array. Light is collected by each individual tube—each of which have their own density and hue—recording it onto photo sensitive material placed at the opposite end. This makes it a direct analog process with a direct 1:1 view of the subject, and the results are pretty interesting.
“The straws have a “raw” ƒ stop, where a 10” (254mm) long, 2mm diameter straw, gives an aperture of about ƒ127, and this was used as a rough starting point for exposure,” writes Haynes on the camera’s webpage. “There isn’t depth of field – the clarity of image produced by the straws recedes into the picture plane.”
The artists’ work on The Straw Camera has been published as a book, featuring portraits, still life, and work in progress with the camera. It also includes an account of the collaboration and evolution of the process written by Haynes, alongside an essay by Liz Rideal. The book can be purchased here and images taken with the camera can be viewed on the web.