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Going Analog in a Digital World

Authored By: 
Linli Chin, Physics Teacher
Have you noticed how some filters on your Instagram snaps make your photos look “old-school” or “lo-fi” with a vintage feel? Using these filters, our photos go through a digital process of wear and tear in order to give it more uniqueness, depth and personality. In this era of bits, bytes, ones and zeros, there has been a renewed interest in going low-tech that is being seen in the fashion, publishing, music, art and technology world. 
Sales of vinyl records hit a 28 year high and mainstream stores such as Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods carry albums released by today’s top grossing artists such as Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. Nokia recently re-released their iconic 3310 model that has been reimagined with smart features but brings back the simplicity of a flip phone. 
Following this trend, I took the opportunity to reintroduce my students to the golden age of photography with a project which had them constructing pinhole cameras from a kit made out of cardboard. This pinhole camera has no flash, no battery, and came to life with a roll of 35mm film (some of the students had never seen these type of film before!). It was interesting to explain the mechanics of the camera obscura and how it replicates the design of the human eye to capture a still image in a fragment of time. The pinhole camera is mainly constructed from a box that is void of any light with an opening the size of a pinhole to focus light into the darkened box and expose the light sensitive film inside. A funny moment arose in class when one student wanted to see the image of the photo when we were using the pinhole camera! This camera doesn’t even have a viewfinder! Basically what you see with your eye is hopefully what you will capture on film! 
Check out these pictures of our students making their pinhole cameras from our Theoretical Physics class and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see the photographs once they are developed! To view other Retro-techs making a comeback, click here

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