Why pinhole?

Hole of View

This is my latest fascination in the world of photography, images recorded through a seemingly simple “hole in a wall”.

Much has been written on pinhole imaging, many books and articles have been published, and just as many a websites created to show, explain and demystify. What is interesting though is the fact that no place covers this subject completely or, I would even say, adequately.

The concept of image creation through a hole seems simple, which perhaps plays a major role in attracting many a practitioners. This simplicity however, is only surface mounted and much can be discovered of its inner workings, if one so desires.

Forth Railway Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland

I’m a firm believer that one needs a good command and understanding of the technical side of any craft before he or she can use it to a full expressional advantage. Otherwise, and pinhole is actually more reliant on that than lens derived photography, the images are more coincidental than intentional. Even, if we manage to pick a good one, we’ll never know what or how it happened.

At this point, I must confess, I have not yet taken a pinhole image. Unless otherwise noted, all images are software manipulated towards “pinholish” look. I try emulating pinhole images and what is shown is something I certainly aspire to record with actual pinhole. Those are clearly indicated by a small grey dot in the right bottom corner. If not, author will be credited.

Pinhole photography has two sides: first: of image creation, second: of camera making. One widely spoken of attraction point is the ease of making a camera out of just about anything that can be made light tight. In a sense this is true. Unfortunately, this also means still spending time making a mediocre “camera” with completely unpredictable capability, than wasting more time developing the silver image. Often the outcome will not be to ones’ satisfaction, which could end up being the last time trying it. Some however, are quite pleased and see an instant “art” in the making. While the latter is hardly ever true, it should be no surprise in today’s world of instant infatuation with anything that is distorted, blemished, or potentially niche.

I am not a shoe-box type of a guy and I do not expect to have a silver based camera ready for shooting any time soon. However, given my fast rising fascination with the concept, I may just as well convert one of the digital cameras, just so I can have my very own pinhole images a bit sooner. In the mean time, I will be working on getting a good grasp of the pinhole theory, image formation, perspective and processing aspects, as well as exposure and focus control.

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