Why do I make Pinhole Photographs by Jeff Teasdale
Digital photography is all well and good, and most of my photography is digital based. But, sometimes I feel that I need to do something a little different, as a rest and change from the hard edge, sharp and colourful digital image. Photography without a lens means developing a all new way of thinking about making pictures.
Pinhole images were out of use by the time silver emulsions were beginning to be made. Some photographers from about the 1910’s, notably George Davidson, started the use pinhole pictures, as a throwback to earlier days.
Pinhole cameras are often thought off as something you can make from toilet rolls and sticky back plastic. But there is now a small industry of manufacturers making pinhole cameras, for all formats from 35mm to 10X8 inch cut film. From cheap plastic to hand crafted wood and brass, with laser cut pinholes. One manufacturer makes a lens mount with a pinhole cut into it to fit most makes of digital cameras. Or you can purchase just a precision pinhole cut into a piece of metal to make your own camera. And, yes, you can still get a full range of film.
I find the image produced very pleasing, with a soft dream like quality, with a nice vignetting around the edges. It also enables me to slow down and think of the image I am making. Some cameras have no viewfinders. A typical pinhole aperture is f196, so it has a great depth of field, and exposures are always several seconds, and it is nice to produce some blur into the image occasionally.
I use colour negative film, processed commercially (so I don’t have to get involved with smelly chemicals), which after scanning, can be used as colour or black and white, with all the usual uses of post production to complete the image -thereby using the benefits of both digital and analogue photography. I usually make small ink jet prints (often on non ink jet paper with a rough texture) to preserve the charm of hand-made quality.
Note: Jeff is happy to advise members wishing to take up pinhole photography, including sources of cameras and film
NB World Wide Pinhole Day is 26th April 2015 – follow the link on the Hot Dates page of this website (where there is a wealth of events of interest to photographers) here
Pictured: pinhole photographs by Jeff from a recent pinhole day at Saltburn