Is Pinhole Photography Grounds for Divorce?
I discovered this evening just how easy it is to jeopardise a marriage. It is possible to do something so heartless, so thoughtless and insensitive that the results of one action can have far reaching consequences. I will freely admit that for the last few weeks I may have been a little overly focused on my hobby. Specifically, I have become obsessed with making and using a pinhole camera. This obsession came to a heated conclusion this evening ending in a confrontation with my wife and as I type this I am literally in the dog house.
A few months ago I was link hopping around WordPress and I stumbled on the pages of an artist called Christian Harkness, He produces the most wonderful images with pinhole cameras. I had seen pictures made with these cameras before but there was something so beautiful about his work that I was inspired to try this for myself. I am amazed when I make an image with a normal camera – so I was looking forward to this strange new challenge. The hope was that by going back to the very beginnings of photography and making my own camera obscura I might learn something. I visited a number of online resources to get a bit of insight and instruction and discovered a whole fascinating world of lensless photography.
I really wanted to try and make my camera using only items that I already had at my disposal. Without looking too hard I was able to cobble together the items needed. My search was aided by our house policy of never trowing anything out. Suddenly the reason for keeping every pin that was ever removed from a new shirt made perfect sense. We own our fair share of geegaws and gimcracks so within ten minutes I had everything assembled.
My setup is pretty basic – it’s a small tin with a pinhole in it. I use Ilford photographic paper to capture a negative image and I then develop the paper in the same tank I use for my normal films. Anything that resembles an image can be scanned and the negative inverted producing a positive. I use a great free internet program called GIMP. I am reliably informed that when software engineers design a piece of programming there is generally a large committee put in place just to work on the acronym.
By now I have made a few exposures and today I showed my wife the fruits of my labour, my creations, my genius! As usual she patted me on the head and told me that I am wonderful. She foolishly asked me to demonstrate how my pinhole camera works. Well this was me in my element. I just happen to have produced a two and a half hour long presentation on the history and physics of pinhole photography. I used PowerPoint to make some slides and I set up the projector.
The demonstration went exceptionally well with my audience of one riveted as I explained who Alhazen was and why he was important to all photography. I did a good twenty minutes on why the image appears upside down. I even managed to give a brief, 45 minute, overview of how photographic paper works. But the pièce de résistance came with the unveiling of my very own pinhole camera. Ever the show man, I had that camera hidden under a velvet cloth during the whole presentation.
I could tell instantly something was wrong. My wife is a gentle soul that never sweats the small stuff but I knew I was in trouble. It turns out that my new magic box was an irreplaceable family heirloom that I had mistaken for a peanut tin. As I sit in Poppy’s kennel typing this things do not look good. In fact I can see the dog smiling and waving from my own bedroom window.
Self Pinterests // Homemade Pinhole // Ilford MG IV Rated at 6 ISO // Aperture:f172 // 15mins
Cuddles in the Kitchen // Homemade Pinhole // Ilford MG IV Rated at 6 ISO // f172 // 12mins
Book // Homemade Pinhole // Ilford MG IV Rated at 6 ISO // f172 // 180 mins
The Friary // Homemade Pinhole // Ilford MG IV Rated at 6 ISO // f172 // 34 mins
This is Poppy // Nikon F100 // Fujifilm Neopan 1600 // HC110 (B) 7.5 min 20c