Student Hacks His Film Camera to Capture Circular Photos

Student and photographer Imran Nuri was driving alone one day when he started to think about photography and its shape. He asked himself “why are photos rectangular?” The answer might be obvious, but it also got him thinking about what it would be like to capture circular photos instead.

Circular photos are not new, the idea is not revolutionary, and the images captured have less information than a rectangular photo. There actually was a film camera that captured circular photos: the Kodak 1.

Photos eventually settled on the rectangular shape because, that is the way most people want an image to look. The top, bottom and sides are cropped by the rectangular shape of the sensor or film. But just because there don’t seem to be any practical advantages to shooting round photos doesn’t mean that curiosity won’t win out.

Nuri decided that despite all the reasons not to reduce his capture area and shoot a round photo, he wanted to try it. To do so, he cut a circle into a rectangle of cardstock paper to fit over the area where film is exposed to light through the lens.

To his excitement, Nuri’s paper hack actually worked. That said, because he used white paper, the edges around the area of the circle still exposed a bit, however only the center of the frame was correctly exposed. After a bit of post-production, it was easy to turn the outside of the capture area perfectly white.

“Photography and art are sometimes not about the final product,” Nuri says. “Sometimes it’s about the process you took to get there.”

Experimenting and having fun with photography is really what this hobby is all about, and we applaud what Nuri did here.