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Genius Professor Turns His Classroom Into a Giant Pinhole Camera

Why wasn’t my photography teacher this brilliant? As Peta Pixel reports, an associate professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, Mark Zimmerman, recently turned his entire classroom into a giant camera obscura to teach his students how old school cameras worked.

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In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, camera obscuras (sometimes called pinhole cameras) are basically the most primitive form of photography. It’s essentially used to describe what happens when a bright light from one side of a screen is projected through a small hole. When the image passes through the hole, it is reversed and inverted. It’s a crazy, natural phenomenon and happens because of the way light travels.

Illustration of the principle of the camera obscura, showing how the image of the lighted face on the left appears inverted on the wall of the darkened chamber on the right. (Image: Getty)
Illustration of the principle of the camera obscura, showing how the image of the lighted face on the left appears inverted on the wall of the darkened chamber on the right. (Image: Getty)
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To pull off the demonstration, Zimmerman first covered all the windows in his classroom with aluminum foil and duct tape, to ensure that there was no natural light entering the room. He left a small, square hold in the center window that essentially served as the camera obscura’s lens. The result was a classroom with scenes of the outside world projected upside down. He also created a neat timelapse for everyone to see. I just wish my teachers were this creative with their lesson plans.

[Peta Pixel]

Technology editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

Point of fact, a camera obscura is a “darkened room” where a small aperture is used to “project” a bright scene outside the room on the wall.

A pinhole camera is a lensless device that uses the same phenomenon to project an image onto photographic film.

The two things are very much related, but are not interchangeable.

Also, squinting works on the same principle.