Looking for that sweet sweet ƒ/D Book of Pinhole?
Order it through ƒ/D directly: click here to order through eBay
Order it through ƒ/D directly: click here to order through eBay
In today’s digital photo rich world, pinhole photography is a bit of an obscure art form. Judging from reactions I get on the street, only about 1 in 5 folks know what pinhole photography is. Solargraphy is pinhole’s even lesser known cousin. However, the results achieved through Solargraphy are no less stunning.
[singlepic id=501 w=150 float=right][/singlepic]Solargraphy is essentially taking a pinhole camera loaded with photo paper and exposing it for a long time. Really long time. A week is probably the minimum, but many are exposed for months. This duration provides an interesting abstraction between the image of the world in front of the camera and traces of the sun as its relative path is changed by our planet’s trip around the sun. Add to that the unique coloration that happens to black and white photo paper over such long exposures, and you have a very unique image.[spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=503 w=200 float=left][/singlepic]Jeff McConnell has scaled solargraphs to a level that I’ve not seen before. His Hunterdon Solargraphs project is ambitious, to say the least. He deployed more than 500 cameras, most of which for a period of 3 months or more. He started their exposures on the Fall equinox in 2015 and continued them through at least the Winter solstice – many for longer.[spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=508 w=150 float=right][/singlepic]The army of cameras were deployed around his native Hunterdon County in New Jersey, mounting them to trees, poles, and other permanent structures. All of them pointed South to make the most of the sun’s journey. The result is a portrait of the place he lives, “but with an unfamiliar face.”[spacer height=”20px”]
Below are a sampling of Jeff’s comprehensive Hunterdon Solargraphy project for you to enjoy. After taking these in, I invite you to head over to Jeff’s website where he covers more of his Hunterdon project as well as his other great pinhole work. In addition, I’m pleased to announce that Jeff’s work will be featured in the OFF Foto festival, which starts today. If you’re in Europe over the course of the next month, you can see his work along with other ƒ/D featured photographers Joanna Epstein, Jesús Joglar, Stefan Killen, and Viktor Senkov.[spacer height=”40px”]
[singlepic id=514 w=600]Spruce Run Reservoir, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=513 w=600]South Branch Raritan River, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=512 w=600]Round Valley Reservoir, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=511 w=600]Readingsburg NJ, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=510 w=600]Lebanon Station NJT, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=509 w=600]Ken Lockwood Gorge, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=500 w=600]Five and Dime Frenchtown, NJ, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=499 w=600]Barn on Senator Stout, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=498 w=600]99 Days of Sun in High Bridge, ©Jeff McConnell, 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
I feel I’ve let you down. You see, I’ve known for a few weeks now that Nils Karlson’s book, “Earth Stands Still”, would be coming via crowdfunding. I’ve known this whole time that it was going to be a triumph of pinhole minimalism. But due to some travel and a mixup, I’m getting this announcement out a few days late. To say the book is flying off the shelves is an understatement, and I’m so happy to see that Nils’s work is being received so well. So for those of you who miss out, I apologize!
You have to check out Nils’s work. What follows is the ƒ/D interview with him, along with some sample imagery. Have a gander, and then head over to his IndieGoGo – and fast! There’s barely any copies left, and it is a limited printing.
All photos ©Nils Karlson 2016[spacer height=”20px”]
ƒ/D: How did you discover your passion for photographing coastal areas in this impressionistic way? Is it a vision that you had been searching for? Did you start with some happy accidents that developed into something more? Something else?
NK: It started out with a rather usual approach, trying to record the scene as it appeared in front of my eyes. But I have never found a true connection to my subject by this. This changed when I stumbled over an excellent book – „Liquid Light“ by Fabien Baron – at the photobook exhibition in Cologne 2014. It featured the most minimal and quiet photos of the seascape I have ever seen: All long exposure images, featuring the horizon dead centre in a vertical frame. This became my starting point for this leg of the journey, and several concepts in respect of technical approach evolved from here.
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What influence has the shore had on other aspects of your life?
As long as I can remember I was drawn to the sea. We used to spend summer vacations at the North Sea, and I was always fascinated by the view, sound, scent, and feel. Today, I love the vastness, when you can see for miles and miles. In the densely populated area I live in, you will not find that. There will always be some kind of obstruction. Also the light has a unique character, especially in the very early or late hours. I travels through a lot of atmopshere, where it gets scattered and incredibly soft. Fortunately, my wife loves the sea, too – and it is a great place to bring our dogs!
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These sorts of minimalist impressionist photos leave so much space for the viewer to explore their own feelings in the scene. What do you find yourself getting from them?
The answer lies within he question – it is space what I am looking for. Vast spaces, where the eye can wander without obstacles. Silence is made of vast spaces bare of distraction, and silence might be the most profound factor i am searching for.
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You quote lyrics from the band No Omega in your book, a passage questioning modern society’s priorities. The photos in the book are like an epiphany of calm, while No Omega is anything but. Can you talk about how you relate this harsh music to your nature photography?
That’s a long, and probably confusing story, but I will try to make it somehow cohesive. Ever since I can remember, I had difficulties to filter sensory impressions, especially noise. This put a lot of stress on me, and the first device to control all these impresions was sister’s first walkman. Wearing headphones, I was able to control sound from the outer world as well as the crippling voice of selfsoubt (latter one only to a small degree). This brought me to music, and to the drums when I was about eleven. The more ferocious and noisy the music, the better it works as a shield – bury the sound under another sound. It was a progression from bands like Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull over Anthrax, a lot of bay area thrash and death metal. As I found the lyrics of most bands well beyond cheesy, I expanded my vocabulary to hardcore and eventually lots of political grindcore and experimental bands. Listening to all that rather noisy music used to be my safety blanket. But after all these years, it started to wear off. When my wife and me had a vacation on La Palma (Canary Islands) in 2009, it was the first time I was confronted with silence. Actually, this trip was the foundation for pretty much everything I do in the photographic realm these days. Since then, it has become like a quest for me – seeking silence. I seek the most quiet dialogue with the landscape. When I crate these photos, I never listen to music. I don’t need to. The problem is that I do not find that silence where I live. That’s where I fall into old patterns and use music as a suit of armor. But still, I find the lyrical content of music to be a crucial factor, and I am always looking for bands who are passionate and authentic. No Omega is one of these bands, and I find myself in their music to a point which is beyond my means of written expression. Actually I have a quite braod taste in music, with a lot of Indie, old (and oldsounding) Emocore, and instrumental bands with a „cinemascope approach“ balancing the fury. I live in a constant state of contradictions existing simultaneously anyway, and I have stopped believing in the concepts of absolute truth. Embrace Ambivalence.
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There are many studies of the shore in this book, and I’m sure many many that didn’t quite make the cut. How do you choose?
Even in high quality photo books, I often miss a cohesive story, flow, and dramaturgy. My goal was to treat the book like a musical album. Have an Intro, build and release some tension, finish on a a strong, but subtle note. Creating an organic flow of light, colour, and atmopshere was the most time consuming aspect. A lot of strong and beautiful photos do not appear in this book, as they just did not fit into the flow. Other photos, which I found to be just „quite decent“ without context, proved to support the story, leading to a perfect sequence of images. Editing is hard though. Sometimes you have to push your favourite kid off the cliff.
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What technologies did you use to shoot these photos? Were they all pinhole?
For seascapes, I love to work with long exposures, whether in a normal camera or lensless.
In Earth Stands Still, one of the three chapters is dedicated to the vision of the pinhole camera. Isn’t it amazing how the very stripped down to the bare bones concept of the pinhole camera yields such atmopshere and mystery? Throughout the few years I am using pinholes, I have tested a lot of different cameras. The difference in the way they render a photo is stunning, having each a distinct characteristic on their own, just like some lenses. Also, I find it to be fascinating to work without any kind of finder – everything is more of a guess, from composition to the inaccuracy of the manual exposure. The pinhole rules out all the „merits“ of the technical revolution, and becomes much more a part of the person using it.
Another technique I use to depart from the scene in front of my eyes towards the image inside my head, are intentional camera movements. These are inspired by Australian photographer Steve Coleman and other artists he featured on his blog. Ethis technique benefit from happy accidents, though I also practiced different movements with a small digital camera before transferring the knowledge into the realm of film.
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Friends in Pinhole:
For the past year+, we’ve enjoyed meeting pinhole photographers around the world and bringing news, artists, and motivation to the pinhole world. Today we want to take a moment to provide a vision for the future of ƒ/D that puts us on a track for sustainability.
If you’ve followed ƒ/D for long, you may have noticed that we usually publish articles or artist features on Wednesdays, and motivational shares of pinhole photos on Fridays. This schedule, while very rewarding, has been taking it’s toll on our ability to come through on other publishing commitments. Like many creative endeavors, there comes a time when you realize you need to change your approach to get the results you envision.
In order to maintain a high level of quality on ƒ/D, in particular with regards to article content, we are going to change to an online quarterly magazine. This will provide us with more time to gather info, research, and interview. The online version of the magazine will remain free to enjoy.
Most importantly, a quarterly schedule will provide us with the time necessary to produce the upcoming book of pinhole photography at a level of quality that meets our expectations. Beyond the first book, which will be available for sale in the near future, we plan to publish more books of pinhole work. We are also exploring the possibility of a print version of ƒ/D quarterly, based on the ƒ/D web magazine.
You can expect several more regular postings on ƒ/D, including some artist show and book project announcements, before the site quiets down while we prepare the new format. We appreciate your support as we make this change, and look forward to even bigger and better pinhole adventures!
Kier Selinsky, Founding Editor
Libby Selinsky, Associate Editor
[singlepic id=487 w=600]Forth Bridge, ©Rudi Neumaier 2016[/singlepic]
Rudi Neumaier is a talented and prolific photographer that used his Reality So Subtle camera to make this photo of Forth Bridge, which is 9 miles west of Edinburgh City Centre. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s just over 125 years old. Rudi has a lot of work available online, between his Flickr site and his personal website – I highly recommend a look.[spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=485 w=600]Beach, ©Fitt Tamás 2016[/singlepic]
We previously featured a photo from Fitt Tamás back in the week of 7/18. As before, he used his Natasha 612 to make the capture, but this time on Delta 100 film. The photo was taken at the Lake of Balaton, the largest lake in Hungary, as people walked in and out of the water. People’s unfamiliarity with pinhole cameras allowed him to photograph the scene without interrupting the people there. Tamás has some amazing work on his Flickr profile that is definitely worth looking at.[spacer height=”20px”]
Eighty Minutes Of The Night
[singlepic id=486 w=600]Eighty Minutes of the Night, ©Eric K.F. Li 2016[/singlepic]
Eric Li made this excellent capture over the course of 80 minutes, as the title suggests, using his Ondu 6×12 and TMAX 100. It’s a stunning example of what can be done with pinhole at night with a little patience. Coincidentally, Eric was also previously featured on the 7/18 weekly post! He’s an extremely talented photographer – with or without lens – and you should check out his Flickr profile to see what he’s been up to since we last featured him.[spacer height=”20px”]
Pinhole Pittsburgh 1
[singlepic id=488 w=600]Pinhole Pittsburgh 1, ©Dennis Salizzoni 2016[/singlepic]
Dennis Salizzoni made this moody image of the Roberto Clemente bridge in Pittsburgh, PA with his ZeroImage 6×9 loaded with Acros 100. Dennis has a very stylistic trend in his Flickr profile, with great lensed and lensless work to be seen.
When I started pinhole, you could say it was a reaction to everything else going on in my photographic life. I had been building a commercial photography practice and was doing well in digital photography. That was, until the great recession swallowed my practice in what felt like an instant.
As 2008 came to a close, I had a heap of ashes that had for years been one of my deepest passions. Life had put me in a position where I could do nothing but self reflect on what went right and what went oh so wrong. I quickly realized that I had developed an obsession with pixel perfection. I was in desperate need of an antidote. I knew “everything” about the mechanics of photography – ratios, numbers, formulas – but was losing perspective on the importance of photography.
I’m not sure I shot a single photo in 2009 or 2010. I didn’t even own a DSLR. But in 2011 I dug out some old pinhole cameras that I had just started to play with years before. My incredible wife and son gifted me my first Zero Image at that time as well. Having kept myself away from the art long enough, I started to pull at the old heartstring again.
One of the best ways to keep moving forward in your personal growth is to jump into things that make you a rookie again. While pinhole is photography, the “rules”, mechanisms, and aesthetics are so different from digital photography that it really is a different art. The first rolls came out so boring. Pinhole’s lack of detail quickly showed everything that was going wrong with my digital photography. For this reason, making pinhole my only photographic tool has been therapeutic in clearing out the creative blockage.
In sports, athletes often isolate a technique in order to focus on improving. For me, pinhole has acted in much the same way. By freeing myself from pixel perfection and techno features, I’ve been able to focus more on the creative side of things.
Elliott Bay at Dusk
[singlepic id=484 w=600]Shot around the time that I finally started figuring out this pinhole thing. Elliott Bay at Dusk, ©Kier Selinsky 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” -Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
Up until a month or two ago, I hadn’t shot a DSLR in years. I’m trying to bring my photography back into balance now. While I still shoot plenty of pinhole, I’m using the DSLR again. I’ve found that this time around, I’m able to see better much better. I check more angles, concern myself with light and movement more, and my ability to previsualize is greatly improved.
I won’t be dropping pinhole. Not now, not ever. It’s too important to me to have that reminder of what this art is about. That’s what ƒ/D has really been about. If pinhole is your only photographic practice and you’re happy with that, great. But for many of us, it is important to have a reminder of what’s important. Like getting out into the country for some fresh air – your soul needs this.
Work the pinhole process. Shoot a lot. Challenge your boundaries. No matter what you shot yesterday, your best work is yet to come.
It’s not that pinhole photography is a more creative embodiment of photography. It’s that pinhole photography nudges the photographer out on the creative ledge a bit more. Pinhole necessitates experimentation. Constantly infinite depth of field and long exposure times are the first couple steps out towards the ledge. Maybe the realization that one can build their own camera is another step. From there, with a new perspective, experimentation take on a more personal path down that creative ledge.
Last week I posted a 12 part creative challenge. To continue the analogy, that post might be the boot kicking you out there. One of the techniques I encouraged was step exposures – where you slowly increment the film over multiple exposures. Darius Kuzmickas is a master of step exposures, but he doesn’t accomplish it through film increments like most of us do. He has two distinct differences from most of us.
Darius’s first difference is that he has architectural experience under his belt, and his passion for exploration of space radiates from his photography. Architectural experience is incredibly beneficial when photographing urban spaces. We’ve seen this before here on ƒ/D, such as Martin Martinsson’s work featured before.
Darius’s second difference is that instead of incrementing the film in his pinhole camera, he achieved a step exposure system through multiple pinholes. Darius collaborated with master camera maker Kurt Mottweiler, who’s cameras and other pieces are works of art in and of themselves. Darius designed the camera and Kurt brought his master craftsmanship. The result is breathtaking. The steps in overlapping exposures, being perfectly aligned, make the architectural subject matter sing.
Darius Kuzmickas has an incredible body of work at this point. The photos shared below are but a fraction of everything he has to offer. After checking out these pieces, I highly recommend that you take a look at his Flickr page for more work. Additionally, he has a project online called Camera Obscura: Outside In(n), which is just awe inspiring.[spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=474 w=600]Benson Polytechnic High School, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=475 w=600]Castle in the Sky, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=476 w=600]Extended Stay, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=477w=600]Fences and Bridges, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=478 w=600]Pettygrove Medical Center, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=479 w=600]Portland, OR, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=480 w=600]Riverfront, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=481w=600]Rogue Hall, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=482 w=600]The Abigail, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=483 w=600]Under the Fremont Bridge, ©Darius Kuzmickas 2016[/singlepic][spacer height=”20px”]
This week brings a few new pieces to help get your creativity going. Fall is almost here, and this is the time of year that I personally feel the most charged to get out and shoot new work. Seasonality not withstanding, if you are needing a little direction in your creative pursuit, check out the 12 creative challenges we shared a couple days ago!
[singlepic id=472 w=600]Low Season, ©Vincenzo Caniparolli 2016[/singlepic]
Vincenzo Caniparoli is the Italian photographer who captured this wonderful beach season, using his homemade 4×5 camera with Fomapan 100. It’s a truly wonderful example of the medium, having captured the spirit of the day. He has a great deal more excellent pinhole and lensed work on his personal website and on his Flickr page.[spacer height=”20px”]
Twenty Eight Point Five
[singlepic id=473 w=600]Twenty Eight Point Five, ©Eric K.F. Li 2016[/singlepic]
This is the second time we’ve shared work by Eric Li, who has an exceptional eye for great photos. Previously we shared one of his pieces on the 7/18 inspiration posting. I highly recommend checking out the rest of his work on his Flickr page.[spacer height=”20px”]
[singlepic id=471 w=600]6, ©Konstantin Murashev 2016[/singlepic]
Konstantin Murashev is a talented photographer out of Murmansk. In this scene, he captured a portion of time with 6 of his friends as they gathered in a Moscow apartment. Konstantin has an excellent way of seeing, and I encourage you to look more on his Flickr page, or follow him on Facebook.[spacer height=”20px”]
Summer is basically over, and if you’re like me, you’re damn happy for it too! Something about the steady march towards winter sets the senses alive. So let’s capitalize on the sense of invigoration.
Here at ƒ/D, we’re all about inspiring you to reach for the pinhole camera and gain perspectives you didn’t have before. In that vein, I have assembled an assignment, if you will, for pinhole newbies and vets alike: 12 shots to stretch out your creative brain! Why 12? Cause there’s 12 exposures on a 120 roll when shooting in 6×6. (As editor I reserve the right to be arbitrary haha!)
Don’t try to do all of these on one roll. Unless you hate yourself. Or you’re just so creative you make the rest of us sick. Cheers!
Have you been using a tripod all the time? Or always setting your camera on a sturdy surface? You don’t know what you’re missing! Examples: Lena Källberg’s Decisive Movement
[singlepic id=470 w=600]Mickey Skipping Stones, ©Kier Selinsky 2016[/singlepic]
Double exposures can be completely unpredictable, at least until you get a good amount of practice in. But they’re always joyful! Look for highlights in one shot to fill in the shadows of another. Examples: On Travel – Markus Kaesler
Do you ever feel like you’re wasting an opportunity when you progress the roll one whole exposure? Sometimes, you’re right. To execute a stepped exposure, advance the film a fraction of the distance to the next frame, take another exposure, and repeat until your film indicates you’re at the next frame (don’t forget to advance to the next frame!). This technique often works well with cityscapes and other scenes with lots of lines. Example:
[singlepic id=469 w=600]City Step, ©Kier Selinsky 2016[/singlepic]
Sun flare is a truly unique pinhole effect. The refraction of sunlight causes a ring of light on the film that can be very flattering to some scenes if used right. To get the effect properly, get the sun off to the side, just at the edge of the frame or even just outside the frame. If you shoot the sun straight on, you’ll get a starburst, but not a flare. Example: Get Inspired – Poppies & Flare
Moving the subject and camera in relation to each other can create an extremely dramatic scene. In a previous article, I described it as a way to get depth of field in your pinhole photos. And Howard Moiser has built a fine catalog of such imagery. Example: Howard Moiser – Relative Movement
Contrary to relative movement, free movement is where only the camera or the subject is in motion. I suppose they could be both in motion so long as they’re not moving together. In any case, the effect is lots of linear streaking. Examples: several fine examples in the May 2016 Gallery
Light painting is a technique that is applied very often in other forms of photography. One bonus of pinhole is that it’s easier to pull off light painting during the daytime, which can bring a whole new suite of possibilities to your light painting desires. Example: Get Inspired – Pinholeshot
With a near infinite depth of field comes a remarkable ability to get up close. In addition, many pinhole cameras have a super wide angle, exaggerating the close up effect. Use this perspective to your advantage to find new ways of looking. Example:
[singlepic id=343 w=600]Smoked Ribs, ©Kier Selinsky 2016[/singlepic]
Create a big sweeping landscape or seascape with that wide angle pinhole and details just wash away. It’s a great way to achieve zen like simplicity and concentrate on major shape. Example: Paul Bender’s Bear Creek Lake Park shared in Inspiration Week of 5/16
Multi-lapse is a technique I’ve written about before. See, pinhole is what many feel is a sort of time lapse format due to the long exposures. In multi-lapse, you break up the exposure into fractions. This can take an exposure where the people would normally disappear and time your fractional exposures so that people are in the same general spots every time, creating a clustering of movement instead of a disappearing act. Examples: Technique: Multi-Lapse; Studies in Motion – Jean-Christophe Denis
Portraiture is something that often gets left by the way side with pinhole. I’ll admit it’s tough – you have to ask people to stay still, and if they’re at all camera shy, they tend to really not like what a pinhole makes them look like. But there’s definitely some great room for experimentation here. Examples: photos by Bernie Vander Wal and Victor Senkov in Inspiration Week of 8/8
Surely you’ve taken some lensed photos. Probably a lot of them. Take a handful of your favorite ones and see if you can recreate them with pinhole. If at first it doesn’t seem like you can, try mixing in techniques like multi-lapse and relative movement. Or try a pinhole take on the subject, bend the “rules”, and get creative! Examples: Send us yours!
August has been an exciting month! Not only did we bring some of the content recapped below, but we closed on our first Call for Entry! It was a lot of fun working with so many great photographers – on a daily basis we got to see fresh work come in. We’re incredibly excited to launch our Kickstarter for the resulting book. It will show work from 100 photographers, produced with offset printing. In addition, we’ve got some very exciting ideas for unique pieces to collect from the Kickstarter, and truly cannot wait to show these great artists to the world!
As usual, we brought a lot of great inspiration. You can view August photos, as well as all previous months, in the Features Gallery
We kicked off August in a jet-setting way with Markus Kaesler’s amazing double exposures that explore the relationships between cities
We reviewed some techniques on how to get even more accuracy from your phone’s lightmeter app
Finally, we featured Antonis Kioupliotis’s excellent hand held exploration of Athens, Greece