Drew Nikonowicz: Building Your Own 4×5 View Camera

Saturday and Sunday, October 19–20, 2019
11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., both days

Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, N.Y.


Photographer Drew Nikonowicz led a two-day workshop for photographers curious about large-format photography. During the workshop, students used lenses donated by Foto Care and additional supplies courtesy of Standard Cameras—founded by Nikonowicz to create a resourceful platform for photographers interested in practicing analog photography through affordable equipment and educational content. Participants delved into a DIY approach to building their own 4×5 View Camera, developing an understanding of the technicalities of building a film camera. On the first day, Nikonowicz introduced Standard Cameras, and participants began assembling their Standard 4×5 View Cameras as a group. People familiarized themselves with their cameras, the terminology of analog photography, and resources in New York for processing and scanning film. Nikonowicz taught participants how to shoot with their cameras, compose shots in different ways, use tripods, and visually grasp abstract concepts.

On the second day, participants put their cameras into action as they navigated through Aperture Gallery to take photographs with both standard and Polaroid film. The class practiced loading film—generously donated by Kodak Professional—into their cameras, and Nikonowicz introduced tools (such as a light meter) and gave tips specifically for shooting with a 4×5 camera. With Nikonowicz’s guidance and advice, participants left the workshop with their own 4×5 cameras and in-depth information about analog photography.

Drew Nikonowicz (born in St. Louis, 1993) earned a BFA from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2016. His work employs analog photographic processes as well as computer simulations, and deals with exploration and experience in contemporary culture. In 2015, Nikonowicz received both the Aperture Portfolio Prize and the Lenscratch Student Prize. In 2017, he completed a one-year residency at Fabrica Research Centre. He lives in St. Louis and works as both an artist and owner of the company Standard Cameras. Nikonowicz’s first photobook, This World and Others Like It, was copublished by Yuffy Press and Fw:Books in 2019.



Sign up for Aperture's weekly newsletter: