Who knew you could take pictures with a paint can…


This past winter for my Exploring Photography class I had the opportunity to build a pinhole camera. According to Wikipedia, “a pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens and with a single small aperture — effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from a scene passes through this single point and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box. The human eye in bright light acts similarly, as do cameras using small apertures.” My pinhole camera was constructed using:

  • A paint can as the body of the camera
  • A small thin piece of brass with a hole punched in it as the aperture to allow light in
  • A piece of electrical tape as a shutter

Black and white light sensitive paper was inserted into the paint can in the darkroom. The can was completely sealed allowing no light in. Then the can was placed with the hole pointing in the direction of the desired picture. The piece of electrical tape was removed for a period of time allowing light to enter the can and expose the light sensitive paper inside. It was developed by hand in the UW-Stout dark room. All of the following pictures were taken with the paint can pinhole camera. The exposure times ranged from 15 seconds for pictures outside in bright sunlight to several hours for the indoor picture of a fish tank. I got all sorts of strange looks when I dragged the paint can out snowboarding with me at Afton Alps.

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My name is Colin Schye. I am a designer and photographer that recently graduated from the School of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. I graduated from the Multimedia Design program with a minor in Applied Photography. I am currently working as a Designer at Morsekode in Minneapolis.

As an artist in today’s society, I use my surroundings paired with my eye for detail to create art in many different ways. From drawing to technologically based art, my passions exceed far beyond the scope of normality. Relying solely on one type of medium does not satisfy my craving for originality and creativity. Gaining inspiration from different environments and people and the feelings they evoke is what gives my work a unique feel. My style is constantly changing as I experience different aspects of life and thus my artwork is always adapting to reflect these changes.

My work efficiently combines the usability and functionality of design with the beauty and marvel of art. I strive to create pieces that are clean and simple, yet appealing and memorable. By doing so, I leave my audience with a lasting impression that encompasses not only my passion but also my values in life. Working with different mediums, I am able to design truly unique pieces. My designs have evolved through exploration and instruction. They will continue evolving so long as I am determined to see past the initial, and most obvious, view of the world.