Back to Basics



I find that as a photographer I sometimes get sometimes get swallowed in this digital technology I use.  I focus on the technical jibber jabber that my DSLR has to offer and forget how the image really gets on the back of that screen.  In truth every picture is broken down to one simple source, light.  A few weeks ago I decided to go back to the basics of photography and work with a camera that uses nothing but light and a pin prick to construct the image.  Pinhole cameras were among the first cameras, and can be made of almost anything.  Oatmeal cans are popular choices for making pinhole cameras, but any canister can be used as long as it can be made light tight.  I have made them these cameras out of black film canisters and tin lunch boxes, but for my most recent experiment with pinhole cameras I wanted to go big.  With hopes of using 8×10 glass plates to achieve an image I used a medium sized wooden chest that I picked up at my local craft store.  Making it light tight was not a hard as one might think.   All that was needed for light tightening my box was some black paper and gaffers tape.  In testing my camera I was completely dependent on the light that was present.  The time it took to make an exposure was different in each place I chose to make it.  My first good exposure in daylight was around 8 seconds, but my first successful exposure indoors took 30 minutes.  The images I got were unlike any image taken with my DSLR.  Similar to a Holga image they were dreamlike.  However, no matter the distance between the camera and the subject the images were sharper.  It is a format I will continue to explore in the coming days.


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