Hello to all the pinhole photographers out there. This is just a note that I will be on a fellowship from this coming Wednesday until December 14th. I will be making pinhole images! A dream come true. Why am I telling you this? Please do not expect a turn around of your image during this upcoming time. I will be out of the country. Please either expose your images until December 14th , or take down the camera now and store it with the pinhole covered please or get it to me before this Wednesday, October 23rd. That all folks. I am busy making pinhole cameras, packing up and preparing. Excited to do nothing but make images……Will be doing both film in my 4 x 5 pinhole camera and in my 120 Zero 2000 and long exposures on paper. Will of course post many when I return.
People are always asking me what do I do each day. As if I did not have anything to do when I am not teaching. As many people know, I retired a year ago from 24 years of teaching high school. Now, I have become a full time pinhole photographer. I have been dedicating my time to shooting pinhole photographs for myself, and updating and maintaining the Pinhole Project website. (I actually alphabetized each folder on this site, so you can find your image easily). While I miss the social aspect of my former job/life, I do not miss the crazy amount of work that it took to keep all running. I had an average of 125 students a semester working in all types of photography, both digital and film, in studio and on the street, in color and black and white, pinhole to large format cameras. Now life seems both more complex and simpler. I have come upon a new idea and it is very exciting to me and of course has to do with pinhole photography. I recently got a new version (exactly the same) of my old Zero 2000 120 pinhole camera. My old one, which I had used for over 20 years had worn out and was literally falling apart. The new one is a gem and I am so happy to have it. I have long used a Leonardo 4 x 5 inch pinhole camera with color negative film. I love that camera but the 4 x 5 film has become quite expensive to operate with the film close to 10.00 a sheet for film and processing. Until I learn how to process the film, I am shooting less with this camera and more with my Zero 2000.
So what have I come upon? It is of course, like all things pinhole, a happy accident. The Zero 2000 can be set to shoot a big rectangle, a smaller rectangle and a vertical almost square image. I set it to take the middle size rectangle and advance it for the smallest size image. The result is a wonderful overlap and the negatives have no black line between them. Even though this is not the Pinhole Project work, I will show a few images here because I am so excited. The first time I did this it was not intentional. That was about 4 years ago and I did not think too much about it, having no time to really investigate the idea. Then I tried it again about 3 years ago and now I am shooting regularly this way. Here are some images shot with the Zero set the way I have described:
this image was made from two negatives, each exposed for about 45 minutes. Charlie Parriott and his daughter Helena Parriott had received a glass blowing residency from the museum and I was lucky enough to be able to shoot on the floor while they worked. Here is another one:
This image was also made of two images side by side on the film. The exposure was a bit less and people showed up more even though they are still shadows. I have shot a bit with this camera. I just shot the Climate March this way the other day and am waiting for the images to come back from the lab. Here are some shot in the summer. I have wanted to capture people and just began to using this technique. Again, all images are side by side on the film, no black line between them.
So these are some things I have been working on.
Angela Prosper long-time friend and former student at Photographic Center Northwest is a woman of many talents. Her first pinhole (seen below) was created in 2013 at the beginning of the project and it shows a view from the old cherry tree in her backyard, facing the sun. It was used in many different ways and stood out from the beginning.
Angela recently made five more pinhole cameras and headed up to the beautiful west coast of Vancouver Island to the little town of Ucluelet . She spent a week there and walked the Wild Pacific Trail, looking for places to put up her pinholes. Angela and her partner Grant wanted to capture images in a small window of time between 3 and 5 days. Far less than the typical exposure of several weeks. They set cameras up all along the Wild Pacific Trail and Ucluelet Inlet leaving them for less than a week. They hoped no one would take them down (which is what the Pinhole Bandit does) and that the bears, wolves and cougars would not attack them. Most importantly, they prayed that the images would be fully exposed before they had to leave the area.
Lucky for Angela and Grant and the Pinhole Project, all five pinholes were still in their spots on the final day of collection; They took them down and drove the 8 hours back to Seattle. Here are the images: A beautiful collection complete with titles. Angela, you rock. Find out more about this amazing person on her instagram page: @prosper_photo.
Here are the images from the Wild Pacific Trail, West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
All images were made this past month! September 2019.
Jess Tampa is a pinhole photographer who has been involved with the Pinhole Project since the beginning. She has seemingly narrowed down her images to interiors of her house in Oakland, California. Recently she came to visit and brought an old two hole camera that has been used by many people. She set this camera on the bookshelf at the end of the living room, unsecured and left it for about five months. Amazingly no one moved it or touched it during that time. She was surprised by the outcome because the curtains around the windows were closed most of the time the image was exposed. This is yet another example of unexplainable phenomena that happens with this type of photography. Why did the trees outside the windows show up so well?
If you look closely, you can see her white cat who laid on the same chair day in and day out. The other amazing thing that happened with this camera is how the floor swooped down and became the ceiling for the image on the bottom. Oh and did I mention the lights that hang around each window. how they showed up? Very cool. I show you this image in the hope that it will inspire you to expose a pinhole camera inside your house for up to six months or longer. You can see more of Jess’ pinholes on this site in her folder. Thanks for reading…..
The images from Everywhere folder contains images by people who were not my students. They are people who I met as a photography colleagues or who are friends, family, or people who have found the Pinhole Project on the internet and decided to join.. In my last news post, some of my favorites over the years from the students at Bainbridge High School were featured. Granted they were all assigned to build a camera and do at least two images per semester. Most did many more. That is the main difference between this folder: and that one: here these people are volunteers and worked out of the kindness of their hearts and the love and the joy of making an image in a little metal tin.
I have learned so much from them. Some I chose because they were among the first to expose an image: Henry Glovinsky and my dear friend who has passed on, Constance Parriottl started the project off. Angela Prosper was among the first as well. Others made images in round cans, and also inside sometimes exposing for six months or more. Paul Heyn was the first to expose an image in his car. I thought he had hung his camera n a swimming pool at first. My nine year (at the time) niece, Malana Neuhauser is perhaps the youngest member of the Project. And Mitch and Lucy Kern are the only father/daughter team that I know of.. I love getting their cameras in the mail (from Canada) with a sweet note from Lucy every time. You can see many other images by these people on the website. Most of them have done more than one image. I am grateful for their participation. Next I will feature those people who have done more than 10 images and have earned a folder on this website titled with their names. Hope you enjoy these photographs. On a different day I would have picked different ones I am sure. There are so many great images!
I have spent the last few weeks working on the Pinhole Project website, going through my external hard drives and thumb drives and updating updating updating. The students at Bainbridge High School have made some incredible images over the last five years. I have put them on the website in eleven folders which equal about 1800 images. I loved doing this labor, and labor it was to make the website better and to begin to create an actual archive. I felt like I really got to know the images in the project in a new way. I decided to take out 10 or so if I can only choose that many. So I went through the archive and marked the ones that popped out to me. I ended with 95. Way too many. I am hoping to post 30 here. We shall see. Hard to leave so many out. I have always said there are no bad pinhole images. So true. Each one is unique. You can find these scattered throughout the BHS folders. Here are the best of the best. Thirty-two total. Enjoy looking!
I am often asked questions about the pinhole camera that at first glance seem simplistic. Recently I realized how many people are asking the same questions and I wanted to review the camera making process and placing it. I will do another post about how they are processed after exposure.
One of the first questions I am asked, is what type of tin can be used? The answer is simple: if you are exposing outside, then you need a metal tin that can withstand the weather and be made light tight. I make hundreds of cameras a year from Altoid tins; they are plentiful and I have a stack always in my studio that people donate. What I like about the Altoid tins is that they are big enough (I am not talking about the very small Altoid tins), can be made light tight and waterproof very easily. And most important they are getting a new lease on life, recycled! That said, just about any metal tin works outside: round tins, large cookie tins (especially around the holidays) are easy to find. I have even made cameras out of metal martini shakers and Ovaltine cans found in thrift stores. I love the old round metal film cans, still available and still great. Last year, an art teacher gave me several pencil cans: metal, rectangular and/or square about 6 inches by 6-10 inches. These we made into multi-hole cameras and got some amazing results. Last week, a friend gave me his very wonderful box that a bottle of great Scotch had come in. I am working on it to make it into a three hole can.
If you come across any can that is metal and you want to use it, send my a photograph of it (taken on your phone) and we can talk about how to use it. Another question that I get asked is how do you make a pinhole camera? I have a drill press and drill a 1/2 hole in the tin. I pound the hole flat with a hammer then sand the tin inside and out, wash it and spray it black. Then we make the pinhole out of brass shim stock from the auto parts store (one of the few things I have to buy), get a perfectly round hole, tape the shim stock inside the can, add two sided tape to hold the paper inside, make a cover for the pinhole and tape the can shut. Voila. It is easy and I have taught dozens of people how to make a camera. The pinhole project makes lots of Altoid and round tins and you can ask and receive one at any time. And not have to make your own. I just made 18 to take with me to a yoga retreat and will give them out to whoever wants one.
The next question concerns placement. People tell me they keep a camera for months, trying to decide where to place it. Because of this dilemma, some people never place them. If you have had a camera a long time (like a few years) go ahead and expose it! The paper will be fine.
Consider these guidelines:
1. There are no bad pinholes, just about any place works just fine.
2. The cameras are all pretty wide angle. That means things in the distance will appear small, so something in the foreground close up will balance that well.
3. There is a pinhole bandit about! Place your camera on private property, out of the weather if possible and in some place you can check on it frequently. The pinhole bandit takes cameras down! But do not forget: you can put your camera in a car and drive around with it. The inside of the car will be in focus. Go to my blog post called Getaways and Home to see some car pinholes.
4. Be patient! A four week exposure is not too long. I have left cameras exposing much longer. And if you would like to do an interior, leave it up for six months. The photographic paper we use is not sensitive to tungsten lights so it takes a long long time to expose.
5. If you are lucky enough to have a four or three hole camera, you can open the pinholes for different amounts of time and in different places. It is a wonder to behold but you need to make sure you have the camera oriented the same way each time.
6. Be sure to place your camera securely so it does not move. I use packing tape on concrete, brick, or any surface that does not accept tacks or a staple gun. On wood you can use the tabs on the camera and place it securely with tacks.
7. Please see an earlier post that goes into great detail about placing the camera. You can access it here: http://www.thepinholeproject.org/news/2016/11/12/how-to-use-a-pinhole-project-camera . Then if you have questions feel free to email me at email@example.com
Any other questions? Email us and we are happy to help out. After all that is what we do. And if you would like to donate any amount at all to the Pinhole Project, your donations are much appreciated. The Pinhole Project is based on your donations.
A Getaway made this past September on a 12 day road trip to the Grand Tetons and Back. Camera was in the front window of the car facing out.Read More
In November of 2017, the artist live work space where my studio is located had an Open Studio. Many many people came through our studios that day. I had made 50 pinhole cameras, thinking that I would have enough to last for a few months Forty-two (yes that is 42) walked out the door and have hopefully been put up and are exposing. I am very excited to get these cameras back. (Note: many have come back!) It seems they were going to many points far and wide: people were getting them for themselves and also as holiday presents for family members and friends across the country. One person said she was sending the camera to New Zealand. Special thanks to all those who got a camera that day. May the pinhole gods look down upon you and may the pinhole bandit never find your camera.
This year (2018) on November 10th, we will have another Open Studio at my building. Again, I have about 50 cameras made and ready to walk out the door. I have rectangular tins as well as many circular ones. I am hoping to get some of the cameras back from last year at this time. I will also have 10 large prints of my pinhole landscapes called Innards. These images are printed just for the Open Studio and will be offered at a special price: one day only sale!
Please drop by and see the great art that is made in this building and see all the Pinhole Images that have been made recently by myself and others here. Pick up a pinhole camera and be a part of the Project. The image below was made on color negative film in a four inch by five inch Leonardo pinhole camera. I have also posted the card for the Open Studios below too. Hope to see you there.
As many of you know I have been a photography teacher in two different public high schools for the last 24 years. This past year was my last teaching high school. I could say I retired but I prefer to say that I have become a full time pinhole photographer. I get to stay at home and work in my studio all day long. That is about as good as it gets in my book. So now I need to catch up on this website and put up about 1000 images that have yet to be posted. I thank you for your patience with this. I simply have not had enough hours in the day. I have spent the last few months getting my own work organized and printed. I went to the Grand Tetons on a wonderful road trip and spoke at the SPENW conference held at the University of Wyoming Research Station in the Grand Teton National Park. It was a great trip and a fantastic conference. I shot 18 4 x 5 inch color negatives in a pinhole camera, then came back and shot a most wonderful wedding with the same camera (more on that later). So dear readers, I give you the pinhole image made from the front window of the car during the Teton trip and will begin today to post the images that have not yet made it to publication.
Thanks for visiting this site, reading the posts and looking at the images. As always if there are any questions about your images, please let me know. And if you would like a camera, please email me with your land address and I will send you one.
Sunday was World Wide Pinhole Day: around the world, pinhole photographers made images and are now posting them at the WWPD website. I was set to teach a workshop at Photographic Center NW on pinhole photography with John Blalock, one of the greats. But as luck and finances would have it, the workshop was canceled due to lack of signups. I think people have these ideas about Pinhole Photography: that it should be mostly free, that it is easy and fun and largely done with recycled materials and alternative papers and films. All of the above are true, exept that it is not easy-it is always challenging and the unexpected creeps in and in the final reckoning, I never capture what I thought I was seeing. I make mainly long exposure pinhole on film and maybe it is the time I have to contemplate the image in my head that makes it so different from the reality that I have seen. I am not complaining. It is good to be surprised and to lose some of the "control" we think we have over art and life. In fact, there is no real control and those who think they have it make images that are devoid whimsy and chance, the two most exciting elements in photography for me.
So many great things have been happening with the Pinhole Project, and I am really really behind in posting images! I will give you some hints: several students at Bainbridge High School made multiple hole cameras, exposing the holes in different places for different amounts of time. The cameras were old colored pencil tins, very wide angle. Four students went together and made a panoramic pinhole that exposed in the four cardinal directions in four separate containers. They then took those images and working together with Photoshop made an amazing panorama. I post some here along with my World Wide Pinhole Day images.
The Pinhole Project continues and continues. On March 31st, the Pinhole Project went to the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle where we did a workshop for three hours, for their Maker Day. (https://mohai.org/event/maker-day-pinhole-cameras/) It was a beautiful Seattle day and there was an early baseball game at 1:00; Needless to say museum attendance was down but in three hours we stayed busy and help visitors make about 60 cameras. I made a 3 hours exposure with my 4 x 5 pinhole camera on film but it is still at the lab being developed. I will post that when it comes back. The MOHAI workshop was an exercise in organization. I had a great team with three volunteers from Bainbridge High School to help everyone make their cameras. I will start to receive these cameras back in the mail around mid May. Look for the latest news post about this at that time.
On April 29th (in three weeks!), the Pinhole Project is involved in an event at the Photographic Center NW (pcnw.org). John Blalock, an accomplished Seattle pinhole photographer and I will teach attendees how to do all kinds of pinhole exposures on film and paper in homemade cameras, in Holgas, commercially made cameras and crazy inventions that work and also with DSLR's with pinhole body caps. We are making the daylight studio at PCNW into a giant camera obscura. And we have a link where participants can upload their work directly to the World Wide Pinhole Day website; (here is a link for the website generally; our link is not active yet). http://pinholeday.org/ It will be a really fun and exciting day. Go to pcnw.org to register. We will have darkrooms and digital labs available for post processing.
So get on-line and register for the World Wide Pinhole Day workshop. See you there. Below is a poster we made for the day and the link to register.
Many people over the last three years have made pinhole images and they do indeed come from far and wide. In this age of lighting speed communcation, the Pinhole Project uses the USPS to send out cameras. and most people send them back that way as well. Cameras come and go, are used and reused and at any given moment, there are probably 75 cameras out. An alternate way to record reality. Below are some images that were exposed for a few days to several months. You can find these photographs n the folder Images from Everywhere, Represented here are Colorado, Pennsylvania, Canada, New York City (Brooklyn and Manhattan), Eastern Washington, Calgary, Spokane, Oakland, Nebraska, Antarctica. Thanks for looking.
I have longed viewed pinhole photography as the happy accident. One never knows what will happen. These long exposures are not immediate like digital photography. Though one can get a digital pinhole cap to replace the lens on a DSLR, the image can still not be seen before it is made. What I love about Pinhole Photography is the unpredictability and innate creativity. The pinhole, like the lens, focuses light rays on to a light senstive emulsion or sensor. Unlike the lens, it does not always see exactly the same way one thinks it is seeing. For me as a public school teacher, pinhole photography has been a way to get teenagers to think outside the box (no pun intended), slow down and hold an image over time in their minds instead of on their screens. It harkens back to another time, when the world was slower and people were eager to be amazed.
So here's to the happy accident. I have always said there are no bad pinhole images. Each one teaches something about what is seen and the person who made it. During the long exposure process, cameras often fall down, get put back up the "wrong" way, get rained or snowed on, get taken by the pinhole bandit. But all the while, they do what photography does best: focus and gather the light and make an image. The image is not perfect, just like the people who make it. And that makes it all the more valuable.
Below are nine images that all illustrate the Happy Accident in some way. Some of my personal favorites done in conjunction with the Pinhole Project.
I have spent the last few days uploading approximately 180 images made by the students in Bainbridge High School's photography program this last fall. They made a wonderful variety of images, most in regular small metal cans but some did round tins and two hole tins. I love the variety and color that they managed to get. My goal now is to collect a few months worth of images at a time and get them uploaded. Check out this gallery on the Gallery Page. It is a good one! Here are a few of my favorites.
The Pinhole project has been live for about a month now and the website is far from being done. There are so many images to be uploaded. If anyone in the Seattle area would like to volunteer in the studio on Saturdays, tagging, organizing and uploading images, times are available beginning in January. There are at least 2500 images still to be done. To be done means to be looked at and appreciated. Handled with care . The entire archive is getting a once or twice over. The images are stunning. And so we move forward slowly, looking at what's been made and thinking about time and light and the best way to present them.
Today I would like to comment on the inherent beauty of this archive andthese long exposure images. Organizing and editing them is a pleasure. The cameras gather light over time, perhaps my favorite part of all photography. The paper responds slowly to the dim pinhole image. The golden rule is long exposures , for the most part, make better images with finer detail. (the longest surviving placement and exposure so far has been two years; that exposure is muddied, no sun trail present). The cameras record everything and capture nothing actually happening in reality but the light; while all the while, something private and personal comes through. Everyone who has made a long exposure knows the image of the place the camera recorded. Exposures are sometimes for months. The act of tending, deciding when to take it down, the anticipation are all a part of the image.
I am dedicated to publishing many images here. Below are three from the archive. Take a look.
Over two years ago, the artists at the Sunny Arms, the building where I live and work, agreed to expose pinhole cameras out their windows for 90 days, from the Summer Solstice to the Fall Equinox. The results were so spectacular that everyone agreed to expose cameras until we had covered each season. The project came to be called, Out There: Pinhole Images from the Sunny Arms Artists. Over the course of the next two years (the time it took us to expose all four seasons), over 100 images were made from our windows. The residents changed, but the pinhole cameras continued to be exposed. You can see an update on this project in this blog, http://www.janetneuhauser.com/out-there-an-update/ that was published in 2015.
When I heard about the public art project called City Panorama, I was inspired to submit the first season of Out There to it. Sponsored by Photographic Center Northwest, King County Metro and 4Culture, the project has placed hundreds of murals in the last six years on bus shelters throughout King County. I am pleased to announce that the Sunny Arms first season of Out There has been placed on a bus shelter on Beacon Avenue South and South Holly Street, just up Beacon Hill from our building. A great big thanks to all three organizations who have sponsored this wonderful project. A great way to make our bus shelters more inviting and show off the photography of so many people throughout King County.
On the Photographic Center NW website (pcnw.org) a description of the project is as follows:
The City Panorama Project began in 2010 when King County Metro, WA partnered with PCNW to expand the public art scene in Seattle and other cities in King County. As a way to incorporate art into everyday life, to beautify Seattle and other cities served by Metro, and to make new perspectives and ideas available to all, the City Panorama Project seeks photographic artwork that will accomplish these objectives while increasing the visibility of the photographic arts. Over 450 photo murals have been installed since the launch of this public art project in 2010. This annual project is funded through a 4Culture grant and now enters its sixth year.
So special thanks to the Sunny Arms artists who collaborated to make this project happen and to all the Seattle and King County organizations who also collaborated to beautify our county. I am honored to be a part of this. If you are in the neighborhood be sure to stop by "our" bus shelter and oh, don't forget to take the bus much more often!
I have been doing pinhole photography for a long time and the process is so simple that I forget that other people might be confused. There are several things that can make your pinhole exposure successful. First, place your camera securely, so that it won’t move during the long exposure. If you are placing it on wood, fasten the camera with pushpins or staples. The featured photograph shows a camera in the entry way of my building, fastened with pushpins on a bulletin board. It is placed facing due west and will remain therefor six months. It is looking through the windows and doors of the entryway which might add some interesting shapes to the image. If you are attaching to a metal, concrete or brick surface, use strapping tape across the tabs. You can’t use too much tape in this situation! If you intend to do a very long exposure, through the rainy season, try to place the camera somewhere out of the weather–under the eaves of a house or on a porch. The cameras are pretty much waterproof and a little water inside of them does not hurt, but it is better to keep them dry. Finally, (and this is a step several people have missed), be sure to remove the pinhole cover completely. The featured photograph shows a camera being exposed with the pinhole cover completely removed. I recommend keeping the cover because before you take the camera down, the cover needs to be replaced. I like to take a photograph with my phone or digital camera of what I think the pinhole is seeing. It is always fun to compare the two shots when the pinhole exposure is complete.
The most important thing to remember: there are no bad pinhole images. You can take an image of anything. But do keep in mind that the cameras are very, very wide angle. They see almost 180 degrees. Thus, something prominent in the foreground always adds visual interest. If you decide to expose the camera indoors, be prepared to leave the camera up for at least a year. The paper used in these cameras love bright lights and are not very sensitive to tungsten type lights. Don’t forget to check on your camera once in a while. They have been mistaken for all kinds of things and in public places they tend to disappear. Sometimes a camera will fall down. No worries, just put it back up. The happy accident can produce a wonderful image. Finally, once you have completed your exposure, return the camera to the the Project and you will become a part of the Archive. For a reloaded camera, just donate again and I will send you another one. Thanks for being a part of the Pinhole Project and participating in the slow photography movement.
When I wrote the Biggest News Around Here blog post is was August 4th. Now it is November 12th and this website is still not done but hopefully we are going live today. There is so much more involved in designing and creating a website that I ever imagined. This is a beginning that I am hoping you will return to as it evolves and changes. Thanks for being a part of the Pinhole Project. Wish us luck! Oh and the image with this is by Jess Tampa, a six month exposure of her kitchen.
This image by Brenda Agular was sited in a public place and survived under a bench looking up at a building in downtown Seattle. Exposure about six weeks.Read More