Happening at the library

Gallery 1501: Meet the artist: Bryan Francyzk

During the months of November and December, visitors to the library can view a wonderful collection of pinhole photographs by artist, Brian Franczyk.  His show, titled Without A Lens, explores image making by unconventional means, using a simplified camera with no lens.  I am excited about this exhibit, not only because the work is wonderful but also, I have a background in photography.  I taught photography for many years before finding my way to DPPL.

Brian Franczyk. photo by Chris Foss

Brian is also a teacher.  He currently teaches basic black & white photography, basic digital photography and advanced color photography at Oakton Community College, Des Plaines.  He got his start studying design and photography at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in the early 1970s. His career as a photographer started after leaving the ID with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design and continues to the present. As a commercial photographer his specialization has been the documentation of Mid-Century Modern Design. His fine art work is also inspired by modernist design principles drawing attention to details, materials and methods generally overlooked by casual observers. His commercial work has been published in many books and magazines internationally and his fine art work is included in many private collections. Without A Lens covers seemingly mundane subjects likes lines in a parking lot, yet they are done in a way that feels like you are looking into some otherworldly scene, with its saturated colors and vinetted corners.

Now if you don't know much about photography, I can help you out.  A pinhole camera has its origins in the first type of image-making device, the Camera Obscura.  A pinhole camera is essentally a light-proof box with a small pin-sized hole on one side.  Light from a scene passes through this single point and projects and inverted image on the opposite side of the box containing the light sensitive material such as film or photo paper.  That material is developed producing a negative which can then be used to make a positive image.  Pinhole cameras require much longer exposure times than a typical camera from an average of 5 seconds to several hours.  Any motion in front of the camera then becomes a soft blur.  The great thing about pinhole cameras is that they can be made for just a few dollars using inexpensive household materials.  When I taught photography, building a pinhole camera was always one of our first projects.  Students would use everything from shoe boxes to Altoid tins to make their own cameras.  

Book turned pinhole-camera

After visiting the 3rd floor gallery and viewing Brian's impressive work, take a moment to check out some books and videos from our collection on photography.  Perhaps you will be enticed to build your own camera.

Brian Franczyk


By Brian Franczyk

A book of photographs by artist, Brian Franczyk focusing on segments of automobiles transformed into works of art.

Pinhole cameras

Pinhole cameras : a do-it-yourself guide

by Chris Keeney

A good resource for building your own pinhole camera

Pinhole phtography

Pinhole photography : rediscovering a historic technique

By Eric Renner

With a little more emphasis on the history, this book is another good resource for all things 'pinhole'.

Martha Casanave

Martha Casanave : explorations along an imaginary coastline

By Martha Casanave

A beautiful collection of images taken by Martha Casanave of the California seashore from a 'crabs-eye view'.  The images are often dreamlike and surreal.

Build Your Own

Build your own pinhole cameras : print out and make cool paper cameras to take amazing photos

By Justin Quinnell

Book includes a CD with 7 easy-to-build cameras that you can simply print out, fold and glue together.

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