Ryan Howerter Made a Lego Pinhole Camera Fit for a Minifig

Ryan Howerter Lego Pinholo Camera-11

All images by Ryan Howerter. Used with permission.

We’ve seen plenty of Lego cameras from SLR look-alikes fashioned our of Lego bricks to a fully working 4×5 camera complete with bellows, and now a tiny Lego pinhole camera made with just a single LEGO brick? We never thought it would be possible, but Ryan Howerter, a photographer and artist from Colorado, did just that.

It’s an itsy-bitsy little pinhole camera housed in a 2 x 2 Lego block and it really works. Ryan says it was actually pretty simple to make by drilling a hole in the brick and carving the out the middle tube with a dremel. There are no optics of course and instead the camera has a tiny piece of brass shim stock with a hole in it taped to the front of the Lego brick. To take images, Ryan slips in a tiny piece of photographic Ilford RC paper into the pinhole Lego camera.

So far Ryan says he has used to camera to produce a few small black and white images. “The hardest parts are loading the camera and developing the paper since it’s so tiny,” Ryan exclaims. “The photos were about 8-15 seconds exposures so it just takes some trial and error to find the right balance as with any pinhole camera.”

On top of using photographic paper, Ryan says he also shot a couple photos with actual bits of film. “Since you can’t use a safelight with film, it was quite difficult to keep track of them when developing (I used a tea strainer to hold it),” he said. “I couldn’t get any presentable photos with film, but it’s possible with some tweaking!”

The Lego brick pinhole camera was a project Ryan as part of a film photography class he took over the summer at the Colorado State University. “When our teacher showed us this pinhole camera, I knew I had to make something just as small,” Ryan said.

Aside from the Lego camera, Ryan constructs many builds from starships to fully immersive scenes made of Lego. It’s an interesting type of photography that fills the entire frame with an intricate Lego scene, which even more amazing when you have do a double take to realize its actually made of Lego.

In the future Ryan hopes to use the brick-sized pinhole camera to capture his Lego Scenes. “If I can get the photos clearer and more consistently exposed, I would love to try it.”

Check out more of Ryan’s work on his Flickr Photostream and be sure to follow him on Twitter.

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Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Brooklyn.