Pringles Can Cameras

Elli Henriquez Parsons
Senior Sarah Vargas patiently makes an exposure with her pinhole camera made from a Pringles can during 2nd period Photography. Photography students use pinhole cameras to help better understand the principles of photography and the physics of light.

Elli Henriquez Parson and Fatima Khezri

Empty Pringles cans and other discarded items are being used to take photos in photography classes.

Intro to Photography and Photography II students are working on making pinhole cameras in class. Photography teacher Mrs. Martinez explained that students are creating pinhole cameras to understand the optics of cameras and how they work.

“Students are initially confused, then excited,” Martinez said. “Almost anything can be a pinhole camera, even your mouth.”

Through trial and error, students work throughout the week on their pinhole cameras.

“The first time my photo was too light,” sophomore Photography I student Elizabeth Rangel said. “The second time was completely black. I’m enjoying this assignment but none of my photos are coming out.”

Ms. Martinez clued in that as long as the container is light-tight, meaning no light can get in, it will work. She has made cameras out of containers as small as film canisters to as big as garbage cans.

“Photo I is more uniform,” Ms. Martinez said. “All of the cameras are the same and the results are the same. Photo II has more diversity in the size of the camera and results.”

However, Photography I and II pinhole cameras do not all look the same. Photography I students only use Pringles cans, and Photography II students can use anything but Pringles cans to create their cameras. Even through frustration, students and teachers alike are focused on the project.

“It is really exciting to take a piece of something you’d consider trash and turn it into a camera,” Martinez said.