Pinhole Obsession

When I look back through my folders of negatives, I notice that I have spent a lot of time on pinhole photography. In 2011 I built a matchbox pinhole camera in time for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day which structurally was great but my exposure times were all over the place - I was baking the film with light. In 2012 I was given a Holga 120WPC which has been a fantastic camera to use and I have made a some of my favourite photographs with it. The obsession has moved on a bit though and I've had an idea.


The Holga 120WPC was a very cheap camera compared to it's competition - the Zero Image cameras are made from fine wood and brass fixtures but Holga did what they do best using plastic and simple moulds to keep the cost down. To me, it's important not to get carried away with pinhole cameras - they are boxes with a pinhole in one side that hold a medium for recording the image on the other side and no matter what you spend this will never change. The Holga is perfect for that.


At this year's Alt Photo festival opening night I captured the bustling room over eight full minutes. James Pearson who was also at the event said that he would stand still for the entire time so that one lone person would appear in the image. This is where I admit that I led James down the garden path because I miscalculated it by one stop of light. James believed it would take a long but managable four minutes but I had to inform him halfway in that it was actually going to take eight. An absolutely trooper though, he stayed for the additional four minutes and I was very pleased with the result.

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Whilst we were at the opening evening James and I were given the opportunity to have a good look at the Harman 8x10" before it was officially launched at Focus on Imaging in Birmingham. This camera is simply a larger version of the 4x5" that launched in 2011. I have wanted the 4x5" version since it's release but, bearing in mind what I said earlier, £165 is a lot of money. Seeing the 8x10" version filled my heart with want again though, but I already knew that the target price for this camera was going to be a little under £300. I was out. The £300 (as with the cost of the 4x5" version) doesn't include a film holder which are a pretty penny themselves. I was definitely out.

Seeing this camera gave me an idea though - if I firmly believe that these cameras are just boxes with holes then why can't I build one? I've researched heavily into this and I have an idea of what I want from this project and have started to draw out plans. Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is next month and would be an ideal time to have it ready for, but I'm not going to rush it for the sake of that - I want this to be well thought out, cheap, and most I'll keep you all updated on my progress once I make a start. Stay tuned.