Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2013

On the 28th April 2013 it was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day and I had been building a camera over the last three weeks to take part in it. As it turned out, I was quite busy on the actual day but managed to make a still life exposure with my creation as well as some self-portraits with the Holga 120WPC.


With my pending fatherhood, I decided that I would make a still life based on my wife and I's past, present and future. Fatherhood is something I'm looking forward to and marks a big change in our life together. The exposure took about an hour but I cut it short by 15 minutes as we were leaving to see friends.

Later that night I set up my trays in the bathroom and developed the paper. It was looking great but had a slight mottling effect across the image. I mulled it over for more that a week as to what this could be with the prime suspect being the filter I was using. What didn't make sense was that the image was fine - distortions in the filter would cause the image to be distorted too and I couldn't see any in the still life. A couple of people suggested the paper and that is when it hit me - during the developing stage I had forgotten to click the bathroom door shut. This usually isn't a problem as our hallway is quite dark but on this occasion my cat had decided to see what I was doing in there and pushed the door open to stick his head is. Bingo!

Earlier in the morning I made a few exposures with the Holga 120WPC pinhole camera to make sure I had something with mark the day. It was a lot of fun. I played primarily with double exposures and movement within single exposures but, again, my cat was making this difficult as he walked around my statue pose so here are the best.


This roll of film represents the last of my Fomapan stock. Fomapan is a cheaper brand of film from the Czech Republic and is really good for playing around with. It's major downside is how easy it is to scratch. As sheet film I can imagine it is far more forgiving as the film is not moving but pulling a roll through cameras like the Holga is something it doesn't handle well. The entire roll from this session was scratched badly from a small imperfection in the moulded plastic. For that reason, as well as others, I am glad to see the back of it and would only consider it again when I dabble in large format photography. I'm an Ilford man at heart and will be returning to them with my next bulk buy.

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.

The Alt-Photo Festival

I'm pleased to announce that I will be showing a few select images with two other Edinburgh based film photographers at this year's Alt Photo Festival taking place across the City. Simon Kidd, James Pearson and I have been invited to show prints at Tidalfire on St Mary's Street (where I was in October) from the 28th February until the 12th March 2013.

The Alt Photo Festival is the new name for the Pinhole Photography Festival which I attended and wrote about last year. Like last year there are various events across the city, including workshops at Stills Gallery, the Botanic Gardens, as well as a symposium at the Edinburgh College of Art.

The Fletcher building at Edinburgh's Royal Botanical Gardens are hosting some wonderful alternative process photographers, including Alastair Cook and his wet plate collodion work, Alex Boyd, Lucy Telford and the organiser Kenny Bean

 "Film Photographers Self Group Shot" by James Pearson

 "Film Photographers Self Group Shot" by James Pearson

Simon, James and I will be hosted by Tidalfire which is at the bottom of St Mary's Street towards Cowgate. Although we're all photographers who use the medium of film, we all use it in different ways and the exhibition will represent that well.

  • Tidalfire Ltd
  • 42 St Mary's Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SX
  • Thurday, 28th February to Tuesday, 12th March 2013
  • Monday to Friday
  • 9am to 5pm

I hope you can make it along during the two weeks. If you do, let me know what you think.