Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Pinhole Spy Camera

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Pinhole Spy Camera

Article excerpt

As we enter the high season for amateur photography, some shutterbugs may be feeling an urge to get back to the basics - to leave behind digital capture and automatic everything for something just one step above drawing the images yourself. Such is the world of the pinhole camera, and if you'd like an introduction to this most elemental form of photography (along with some tips in being a low-rent James Bond) the Pinhole Spy Camera website is looking for new agents.

Created as a combination of edu-tainment and self-promotion for the design studio Mod7, the Pinhole site puts the (tongue-in-cheek) emphasis on 'spy' in the delivery of its content. Launching into a custom-sized window, the site's Flash presentation seems like a cross between Alias and Get Smart as an animated map 'locates' its agent and displays images of the spy carrying his sub-miniature, easily concealed camera - in an aluminum-sided briefcase which exhibits all the stealth of a 747 in a flock of hummingbirds. After this confidence-building introduction, the visitor is then invited to join the shadow service, and upon accepting the challenge (by clicking on the "Proceed" prompt), is introduced to The Mission.

In this first of four main sections, The Mission takes recruits step-by-step through the construction of their own spy camera, which, when completed, will use commonly available 110 print film. (A downloadable PDF blueprint is provided for guidance, and the only other materials required are cardboard and tape, aluminium foil, and a small picture-hanging screw.) Operational instructions are also provided, and prepare the photographer for the less than tack-sharp nature of the final output with the warning to "expect surveillance quality images, not precise photos."

Having familiarized themselves with the camera's construction, visitors are next taken through the edu-component of the edutainment site with Inside the Camera - which provides a very basic introduction to the science of photography, and compares the Spy Camera with "Civilian Technology. …

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