We were asked to take some pinhole shots at college. “What is pinhole photography” i hear you ask. Well it is one of the most ancient methods and the purest in my opinion it is about light which is in itself what all photography is based on. The Camera Obscura is shown above it was used for painters to recreate an image on a wall and then paint said view so one could say it was the ancient tracing of yesteryear. The fascination of camera Obscura happened way before the camera as people would struggle to fix the image in place. It wasn’t until William fox Talbot figured out how to use chemical emulsions to fix an image in place for the world to keep and remember. and thats where the photograph began.
I were asked to shoot using various objects and different shapes and sizes so i first used an SMA baby formula tin modified into a pinhole camera and at the same time used a MDF kit pinhole camera i also tried a 35mm film canister converted to a pinhole camera. as shown below.
i used a meter app to meter how much light i would gain for an even exposure. the aperture with a tiny pinhole works at around f206 with is a very narrow aperture which does mean the exposure time has to be quite long but it also means you get a very deep depth of field. the photographic paper generally is rated at ISO/ASA 3 so very low sensitivity to light. one thing to take into account is the distance from the pinhole to the paper makes a difference too. the paper from the film canister became far too overexposed and purely black as too much light had hit the paper so i didnt bother scanning that in as i felt it wouldnt benefit the viewer having a look at a piece of black photographic paper. below are the final paper negs from the two camera’s shown above.
On the left are the negatives that came directly from the camera and then developed in the darkroom through the normal procedures of developer , stop and fix the image on the right is a 5 second exposure contact positive of the negs. which i am really happy with. this got me thinking that anything that is light sensitive can be made into a pinhole camera so i built one out of one of the chemical bins from the dark room. i had to built a lid out of card and gaffa tape thin copper and a pin and also a little bit of sand paper to smooth the pinhole to give a cleaner aperture. as shown below
you can see from the images exactly how crude the camera can be but this fitted 8 x 10 photographic paper just snug at the bottom of the bucket. one error i made was in turning the bucket on its side as shown on the right above. the paper wasnt taped to the bucket which meant the 15 minute exposure i did in the corridoor came out blank silly mistake really. but it lead me to tape the photographic paper to the base of the bucket which stops it falling down. the shot from the top left is it in situe to take a shot of the tudor house as shown below
i love the ethereal feel to the shot on the left i also shot another up one of the large oak trees at college and make a contact positive as shown below on the right.
i think timing is everything when it comes to pinhole photography i need to reshoot this some more as i need a lot more time to take the image in the corridor and to meter the scene accurately i will use my sekonic spot meter rather than an app on my phone as the meter will give a more accurate light reading
i love the endless possibilities of a pinhole camera watch this space as trust me there will be more