Photograph by Chris Lentz
It should be mandatory that every aspiring photographer started out in the world of photography through the pinhole technique. It's something as simple as a box with a little hole made by a pin in it, from where the light goes through and projects an image unto a photo-sensitive negative in its interior. Then, it all comes down to light control and framing. But, after all, isn't that what photography is all about? Furthermore, the results can be fantastic and very encouraging. Now picture a box with not one, but several holes placed radially to cover a 360º angle, in order to get a panoramic picture. Such a box exists and is fascinating.
We can find two versions of this 'magical box', basically a sophisticated, hand-crafted camera. Not at all digital. Both of them work with traditional, medium-sized, 120mm negatives and produce 6x17 cm photographs. Of the first one, which is called the Hexomniscope, only 25 copies were produced. It is composed of a barrel with six orifices placed hexagonally (hence the name), each one working independently from the others. The Omniscope only has four orifices, but has the ability to create anamorphic images. This means the lens is not parallel to the film, which can correct perspective effects and, even, add them. As an additional feature, there is also a barrel with orifices of various diametres.
If you still have any doubts about the technical and aesthetic quality of the pictures these devices are capable of taking, here are a few examples. The rest is here.
Photograph by Walter Crump
Fotografia de Jeff Dorn Jr.
Photograph by Sue Anne Hodges
Photograph by Paul Kennedy
Photograph by John Lee
Photograph by Gianpiero Pagnini