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World Pinhole Day is on 26th April 2010.

This is a time when, around the globe, photographers make images like no other – lensless photographs. The images created are formed by a minute hole in a sheet of metal foil.

And the things people use for cameras are unbelievable. From a Spam tin to a delivery truck … there is very little that cannot be converted into a pinhole camera.

But why – when you can buy beautiful cameras and lenses, equipment that will give you razor-sharp images – why take photographs through a pinprick?

Because pinhole photography gives a different view of the world. Everything is soft and mysterious, colours are different, exposures are long and the depth of field of a pinhole lens is enormous. Pinhole images have a timeless, ethereal, dreamy feel to them.

Do these subtle visual qualities speak directly to our elemental memory?

Who knows?

You can make a photograph of anything with a pinhole camera. But certain subjects tend to make better images than others.

  • Because of the long exposures required, if you have moving objects in the frame they will either come out blurred, or not at all. If you have people in the frame they will have to remain very still, or remain still and then move away rapidly, which will give them a ghostly appearance (see the man on crutches).

  • Landscapes generally work less well in pinhole photography as they tend to be ‘soft’ images to begin with. Scenes with strong graphic lines, such as buildings, bridges, roads or leafless trees are good.

  • With its enormous depth of field you can also get some dramatic close-ups.




Pinhole photographs – by Alistair Scott

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