The magic of pinhole photography

Apr 19, 2011

Leigh-On-Sea, Geon Park, United Kingdom

In a few days, many pinhole photography enthusiasts around the world will be grabbing their makeshift cameras and uploading their images onto this site.  Sunday, April 24th marks the annual Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.  Pinhole photography involves taking photographs using a light-tight container with a tiny hole on one side.  Light travels through the pinhole opening and exposes photographic paper or film on the inside of the container.

When I taught high school photography, pinhole photography was one of my favorite class projects.  I wanted students to grasp the idea that a camera is basically a box.  The word camera comes from the Latin term camera obscura, which means "dark chamber".  Some students would choose to build their cameras out of cardboard, and others would bring shoeboxes from home. 

The first day of shooting and developing pinhole pictures was always an exciting time. And the learning curve was high as students problem-solved issues concerning exposure.

mon velo, Ginou Hocedez, Belgium

This photo of a bike wheel is very similar to the kinds of photos taken by my students.  There was a bike rack outside my classroom, so every year, I would see a number of photos featuring bicycles.  And, like this photo, the images taken by my students were negatives.

All the photos shown here are part of an online pinhole gallery, with thousands of photographs catalogued.  These are several of my favorites.

Rowboats Beached on Misty Day, R Aber, United States
pinhole on the cliff, Teerapan Leelavansuk, Thailand
*, Petr Mahdalik, Czech Republic
untitled, Xavier Brunetière, France
Laatefoss, Bjorn Rannestad, Denmark
sweet home, Volkmar Krause, Germany

Check back this Sunday for the 2011 exhibition.  Even if you're not planning on submitting a pinhole picture, you don't want to miss out on more amazing pinhole photography from artists around the globe.


Cassidy said...

Beautiful photographs. I've never heard of pinhole photography, now I am quite intrigued.

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