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Light Captured Moments ... With Drinking Straws

Find out more about the extraordinary camera made from drinking straws.

| Creative

Light Captured Moments ... With Drinking Straws: Straw camera 1


If we told you that the humble drinking straw can help to create photos, you might call us mad. But one conceptual designer has succeeded in a joint venture to create such an invention.

Using 23,000 drinking straws to create a sort of honeycomb effect, Cliff Hayes and Mick Farrell constructed a box, at the back of which was placed photosensitive paper. When the paper is exposed, light travels down the straws creating a pattern. In this way, you can place a subject in front of the device and get an exposure. 

"The Straw Camera gives a straight indexical rendering of whatever is put before it; a direct 1:1 view of the subject. Each straw has its own density and hue. The multipoint perspective lends itself to a passing nod to the Euston Road School of painting, with its passion for accurate depiction, and at the same time suggests a “pointillist” impression.", explains Cliff. 

Light Captured Moments ... With Drinking Straws: straw camera 2

The idea stemmed from an interest in pinhole photography, which both Mick and Cliff had fun with. However, the straw camera actually has little in common with a pinhole camera, as Cliff explains: "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 onto paper, it is a direct analogue process.", Cliff explains.

Light Captured Moments ... With Drinking Straws: straw camera 3

"The straws have a 'raw' f/ stop, where a 10” (254mm) long, 2mm diameter straw, gives an aperture of about f/127, and this was used as a rough starting point for exposure. There isn’t depth of field - the clarity of the image produced by the straws recedes into the picture plane." He adds. 

Even if you don't fully understand the process, the images it creates are definitely unique and very interesting to look at. The honeycomb texture gives a surreal edge to the images and also adds another dimension to the images. 

If you want to find out more about the Straw Camera, you can do so over on the dedicated website

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