Tag Archives: paper negative

Hunterdon Solargraphs – Jeff McConnell

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”]

Inspiration – Week of 7/11

This week’s inspirational imagery is all monochrome. I can never decide what I like more – color or black and white. Sometimes I waffle week to week – this week it’s mono 🙂

After checking out these awesome examples, I want you to do two things:

  1. Take a look at some of the other great inspiration we’ve shared
  2. Consider answering our free Call For Entry!


[singlepic id=397 w=600]160623_apx_03 – ©Sandeha Lynch 2016[/singlepic]

Sandeha Lynch made this photo with his “Picket Pinhole” camera, which is a panoramic camera that utilizes 3 pinholes, creating the unique overlapping image. This scene on the Tawe River and marina area in Swansea, Wales was made on Agfa APX 100 and developed in Rodinal. You can find more of his excellent work on his personal website or his Flickr account.



[singlepic id=400 w=600]Untitled, ©Jon Burtoft 2016[/singlepic]

Jon Burtoft, based out of Cornwall, made this rough coastal image at Westward Ho! in North Devon. The low tide there exposes large black rocks with these deep fissures like the one seen. Jon likes to get to the coast to photograph when the weather turns for the worse, to capture the essence of the coast. After 13 years of photographing the area, he’s gotten to know it very well. I encourage you to check out his work on Flickr, or follow him @jburtoft on Twitter.



Spare Anchor
[singlepic id=399 w=600]Spare Anchor, ©John S Bohn 2016[/singlepic]

John S. Bohn made this image with a Skink Pinhole f71 Sieve on a Zorki 4K camera, with Fuji Superia. The image was made on the ship he’s been working on for 5 years now. John has some great work to look at over on his Flickr page.



Brussels Rd Point – Rue Antoine Labarre
[singlepic id=398 w=600]Brussels Rd Point – Rue Antoine Labarre, ©Jeanus Loctet 2016[/singlepic]

Jeanus Loctet used a homemade pinhole box camera that he loaded with Ilford paper cut to 10×15. He made this image in winter, as a double exposure using the 2 pinholes he has in the camera – exposing at the same time without the camera moving. He has some very well executed photography worth checking out on his Flickr page.



Inspiration Week of 6/20

For this week’s inspirational set, we bring 4 movements, all from Europe. Which is appropriate, I suppose, since the whole world is looking to Europe today due to the passage of the Brexit. No matter your political leanings on the issue, we think you’ll find these works inspiring. If you need more, as always, you can check out our recap galleries!

Pinhole No.1
[singlepic id=370 w=600]Pinhole No.1 ©Christian Schaus 2016[/singlepic]

Christian Schaus wielded his Zero Image 2000 loaded with Ilford Pan-F to make this image at Jervaulx Abbey Park, in Yorkshire Dales, England while on holiday in August last year. This trip was his first time using a pinhole camera, where he fell in love with the simplicity of it, and he hasn’t used any other format since! You can find more of his fantastic pinhole images on his Flickr page.


Stockholm Central Station
[singlepic id=371 w=600]Stockholm Central Station, ©Gunnar Eld 2016[/singlepic]

Gunnar Eld loaded his Ondu 6×6 with HP5+ for this scene of the Stockholm Central Station, and as a result of the 6 minute exposure, most of the people have vanished from the image, which “adds another dimension to images where only things more permanent stay visible. Perhaps a thought that applies to other things in life as well.” Indeed. You can find more of Gunnar’s work on his Flickr page.


[singlepic id=369 w=600]Machina,©Zoltan Adam Varga 2016[/singlepic]

Zoltan Adam Varga made this abstracted detail of a washing machine with his homemade 6×6 pinhole camera and Kodak Ektar 100. His camera is made of LEGOs, plastic sheets, a mouse pad, and aluminum beer can for the pinhole. Something to remember if you ever lament not having the shiniest and newest camera! You can find more of Zoltan’s remarkable pinhole photography on his Flickr page.


[singlepic id=372 w=600]Untitled, ©Maciej Mucha 2016[/singlepic]

Maciej Mucha made this impressionistic capture in London with a homemade box camera loaded with Ilford IVMG paper. He held the camera for 25 seconds while making the exposure of skyscrapers. A creative boldness that has paid off very well in this case! You can find more of Maciej’s excellent pinhole work on his Flickr page and on his portfolio website.



Inspiration Week of 5/9

Every week on ƒ/D we scour the web for some fine examples of pinhole photography to inspire you to get out and shoot some pinholes of your own. This week is no exception, as we bring you examples of great captures and a very happy accident.

After you take a gander at these, if you still more, we have you covered!

Salthouse 2015
[singlepic id=323 w=600]Salthouse 2015, ©Andrew Bartram 2016[/singlepic]

Andrew Bartram made this captured this minimalist scene using his Intrepid Camera fitted with a pinhole and a 1 minute exposure, then printed on Ilford MGRC. You can find more of his work on his Flickr page.


Bilbao’s Guggenheim
[singlepic id=321 w=600]Bilbao’s Guggenheim, ©Paco Casado Cepas 2016[/singlepic]

Paco Casado Cepas created this photo in bad weather, at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, and without the aid of a tripod to steady his cylindrical tea can pinhole camera. The wind blew his camera off a railing during his 12 minute exposure. As Paco explains:

I was very surprised when I developed at home and saw such an interesting image. Chance, the unexpected, is from that moment not an enemy anymore to me. Actually I consider random exploring as part of the pinhole game, a different way of making images apart from the photography industry. Although we measure light, pinhole diameter and set up our cameras in a certain position, the intention of the photographer melts with the inaccurate and let something not expected ‘happen’. As Vilem Flusser wrote, “pinhole photography becomes less a program and more an act.”

You can find more of Paco’s work on his Flickr page.


[singlepic id=324 w=600]Vibration, ©Nicolas 2016[/singlepic]

Nicolas Escoubeyrou captured the essence of this rowboat scene using his Noon pinhole camera loaded with FP4. Nicolas is using pinhole to aid his exploration of analog photography and various film formats. You can find more of his work on his Flickr page.


No Title
[singlepic id=322 w=600]No Title, ©Gabor Pal 2016[/singlepic]

Gabor Pal used to use software to manipulate or even damage his photos to create a mood, but now with pinhole he has no need for post-production manipulation. He made this scenic capture with his Zero Image 2000 and Portra 400. You can find more of his work on his Flickr page.



Corine Hörmann – Test of Time

Nature landscape photography can be deceivingly hard. Not the composition or the exposure, or even the expression, but rather the challenge of telling the viewer something new about the natural landscape. Even once you nail the composition, exposure, and expression that you were aiming for, there’s a massive body of work produced by the photography community that you are measured by – not least that 800lb gorilla that is revered both inside and outside the photographic community: Ansel Adams.

There are thus two ways to excel at nature landscape photography today: go somewhere exotic; or excel at bringing subject, form, and content into harmony. The problem with the former is it’s not really about the art, it’s about deep pockets. Thus the latter is where art shines through as it doesn’t matter where the photo was taken – it tells its own story, with any setting being happenstance. It’s with this backdrop that I’m always impressed by the natural landscape photographer that tells me something new with their photos.

This creative challenge is a large factor in my affinity to pinhole photography. The limited toolset knocks a person off balance and forces the photographer to consider the variables differently, learn to use those limitations as strengths, and think about what is being put into an image more thoroughly. I strongly believe that from this extended experience, a photographer who uses both pinhole and lensed photography will be able to see more photo opportunities. But I digress…

Corine Hörmann is a nature landscape photographer who, in her series Test of Time, has shown me something new. She’s a Dutch photographer who was introduced to pinhole by one of her Art School teachers in 1997, and hasn’t looked back since.

Corine is a natural landscape photographer who is always seeking to capture a sense of wonder in the world. In the Test of Time series of photos, she’s attempting to capture the passing of time in a single image. The exposures are made over the course of 8 to 48 hours, creating contrasty scenes that show the passage of a day or days. Not quite solargraphy, but further extended than your average photograph, there is a peaceful glow in her photos that is only disturbed by the burning passage of the sun. Corine explains further in her project statement:

“This series was created from the desire to visualize the passage of time. I started looking for possibilities to photograph landscapes with a one day exposure time. After doing some research I started experimenting with an exposure of 12 hours using film negatives. In order not to overexpose the film I used several layers of neutral density filter. After weeks of experimenting with different exposure times, film and neutral density filter combinations the first exposures were successful and it is an ongoing project now. I leave the light to affect the film from 8 until 48 hours. The path that the sun describes in the sky and its reflection on the water constructs the image and the result is dependent on this. The line is sometimes interrupted which means that it was cloudy at that specific moment. During the progress I discovered that I am attracted by the cyclic movement of time and water as an important aspect of our human existence and as the most mysterious thing there is. In these photo’s I try to concentrate on the contemplative nature of water in connection with the theme of time. Where is the past gone and where does the future come from? Time flows like water and at the same time water is the primeval sea in many creation myths and the source of all life. It works like a mirror that reflects the universe. In these pictures water and light are like metaphors to visualize the passage of time. In the photos the difference between the seasons is quit clear. You will see the water with a frozen surface and a low sun but also the reflective surface of liquid water while the sun is high in the sky. So the cyclic movement of time is not only shown in a single photo but also in a series of images.”

Please enjoy the following selection from her Test of Time series – if you’re hungry for more from the series, you can satiate that need on her site. The rest of Corine’s work, as well as further background, can be found on her website. You can also follow along on Instagram or Facebook.


Test of Time 1
[singlepic id=286 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 3
[singlepic id=294 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 5
[singlepic id=296 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 6
[singlepic id=297 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 8
[singlepic id=299 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 10
[singlepic id=287 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 11
[singlepic id=288 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 13
[singlepic id=290 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 14
[singlepic id=291 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


Test of Time 15
[singlepic id=292 w=600]©Corine Hörmann 2016[/singlepic]


June Recap

June 2015 saw some great pinhole action at ƒ/D! In case you missed it, here’s what happened:


Marko Umicevic - Leaning-towers - smallJune 3: We covered Marko Umicevic’s paper negative process for enhanced tonality.

June 5: We brought you Tina Rowe’s wonderful representation of movement.

June 10: We published Todd Schlemmer’s overview on 3D printing pinhole cameras.

June 12: We travelled to Alaska with Eddie Erdmann and his serene panoramic captures.

June 17: We covered the benefits of using some very feature packed apps on your phone for pinhole photography.

Pascal Grandet - _^_ - smallJune 19: We got deep in symmetry with Dikal’s pinhole photography.

June 24: We stirred the pot and looked at motion in a new way as we discussed controlling depth of field in pinhole photography

June 26: We shared Csaba Kovács’s exploration of fog and converging lines.

Finally, we’ve been delighted to continue promoting some of the best pinhole photography available:

[nggallery id=12 images=35]

All images on this page are copyright protected by the respective artists.

Paper Negatives: Refining the Process

If you’ve been following ƒ/D closely, you’ve probably seen that we’ve featured some of Marko Umicevic’s images before (here and here). His images of Croatian scenery carry a distinctive smoothness in tonality and transitions that suit the subject matter expertly.

Marko often relies on paper negatives. It’s a medium I’ve personally used a little, and have always been intrigued to learn more about. I was surprised to see a particular aspect of Marko’s process notes: R09 1+100. I thought it was a typo, and then when I saw his Under the Trees, I saw that it was R09 1+200, and I had to pursue this further. R09, the modern incantation of Rodinal, is more often than not a film developer. Moreover, when used for paper, the recommended dilution is usually 1+10 or 1+20.

Over the course of a few emails, I got the chance to quiz Marko about his Rodinal paper development technique further. I’m pleased to present the highlights of that conversation here.

Marko, when I look at your images, and consider that you’re using Rodinal in 1+100 or 1+200, it appears that you get a longer tonal scale than you’d normally get from a paper developer. Is that accurate?
You are right. That’s what Rodinal does in comparison to standard paper developers when used at higher dilution than normal! At 1:200 it works very slowly, doesn’t penetrate deeply inside the paper base and reduces silver mostly on top. This “flat-top” procedure (similar to water bath) evens out the contrast more efficiently since it contracts highlights that are prone to blow out when development starts! (And highlights are something to keep in mind when dealing with paper negatives) Rodinal works as an excellent paper negative developer and allows you to fine tune contrast of your images. Unfortunately, at higher dilution it’s quickly exhausted and that requires extra precaution at development sessions.

Wide tonality of some of my images, beside highly diluted Rodinal, is partially result of fiber based grade 2  paper I’m using (conventionally: normal grade paper). Lower grade gives lower contrast, i.e. better or wider mid-tone values while fiber base due to its higher amount of deposited silver brings to overall picture depth. Same effect can’t be achieved with VC/RC paper!

So, it’s a balance between Rodinal dilution, developing procedure and graded FB paper I’m used to and know very well. Not to mention the importance of exposure that needs to be as exact as possible.

Chrysopoeia, ©Marko Umicevic 2015
Chrysopoeia, ©Marko Umicevic 2015

Are you using any agitation in your process? Or is it stand development?
It’s usually a stand development with very little agitation or if any. In the case of Under the Trees – due to high scenery contrast – negative was developed with almost no agitation at all. The thing is, while proceeding with stand development, if I see that developer is exhausted or near exhaustion and works extremely slowly I would agitate it if necessary. This would bring some power to it but results wouldn’t be the same as with stand development done with freshly mixed batch.

Outer Walls, ©Marko Umicevic 2015
Outer Walls, ©Marko Umicevic 2015

Are you pre-flashing your paper negatives first?
When working with pinhole camera and paper (and I do both almost exclusively) I try to keep the whole process as pure as possible. Pre-flashing paper can slightly increase the emulsion speed and consequently help one keep the contrast inside normal/usable scale if exposure is based on shadow values and measured under difficult or harsh lightning. However, for me if the light isn’t just right – soft, subdued and kind of “touchy” with mostly open shades – I’ll try not to do the picture. That makes pre-flashing in my case irrelevant. Also, I try avoiding the use of any sort of filters, be it color or UV.

Hunted, ©Marko Umicevic 2015
Hunted, ©Marko Umicevic 2015

What ISO do you generally find works best for this configuration?
I usually rate my paper (FB Fomabrom grade 2) at ISO12

Speaking of exhaustion, roughly how many negatives do you find you can develop in a batch of Rodinal 1:100 or 1:200?
In my experience, 1L of developer solution at 1+100 is roughly enough for 3 sheets of 8x10in paper, while at 1+200 one can count for 2 sheets. Keep in mind that we are speaking of double weight FB paper! Considering exhaustion, highly diluted Rodinal in a tray has full working life of roughly 25 minutes at 20°C. So, when developing at higher dilution I try to bring picture to life very slowly, but starve to finish the procedure fast. With practice and confidence this quickly becomes a routine and a method.

Leaning Towers, ©Marko Umicevic 2015
Leaning Towers, ©Marko Umicevic 2015

For those that aren’t familiar with the Development by Inspection technique (as opposed to time and temperature), can you describe the process? How do you know when to pull the print from the developer?
Basically, developing paper negatives is very similar to developing enlarged prints in a standard darkroom processing. But, unlike standard paper developer and standard procedure that mostly urges for fixed time, developing paper negatives in Rodinal is less restrictive and more open to process variation at the development stage. Higher Rodinal dilution brings even contrast at prolonged development time allowing one to pleasently observe, control and eventually modulate picture tonality under the safelight. Decision like „should I agitate or not“ or „can I stop it now“ are all made under inspection! Also, when working with Rodinal one has to keep in mind Rodinal’s „single-shot nature“ genuinly formulated for film and not for paper! Issues of this old chemical formula comes to life at stand development in a tray that in my configuration often lasts between 8 to 20 minutes. Paper fogging from safelight or developer oxidation are expected difficulties that I need to count on. You would rarely experience this with standard paper development in standard darkroom procedure – be it print or negative.

In Rodinal my paper negatives are usually developed as follow:

Firstly, I push the paper with the emulsion side facing down inside shallow tray filled with developer and with the help of tongs try to keep the paper beneath developer surface until I feel its thoroughly soaked. Then I slowly (!) agitate the tray for a brief moment.

After first minute I flip the paper upside so I can see how the picture is coming out. At 1:100 properly exposed highlights starts to occur after about two minutes. Keeping an eye on highlights when developing really starts and observing the speed they are coming out makes help in evaluating final contrast and gives signals for further agitation if necessary. Developing is finished when shadow details are fully developed. That’s the point when I pull the paper out of developer tray.
Dilution and Rodinal developing time in a reference to desired negative contrast are evaluated on my expectations and sometimes by the notes I write on the exposures and scene/subject light values. Experience in working with paper and darkroom materials I’m familiar with plays great key of roll in my processes. Usually when I standardize the procedure (exposure/paper/developer combination) I can count on timing what makes developing by inspection at least for the sake of contrast control – not so necessary. Still, I enjoy it very much to watch how picture is slowly drawing itself and this work of magic can be quite thrilling on larger sheets of paper!

Mirror Meditations, ©Marko Umicevic 2015
Mirror Meditations, ©Marko Umicevic 2015


More of Marko’s work can be found on his Flickr page.


Get Inspired – Archaeologists at the Rhynie Woman Dig

Gather around for today’s featured pinhole photo.

Archaeologists at the Rhynie Woman Dig
[singlepic id=164 w=600]Archaeologists at the Rhynie Woman Dig, ©Chris Bird 2015[/singlepic]

Chris Bird made this image during the week long Archaeological dig organised by the Rhynie Woman artists collective In the village of Rhynie in Aberdeenshire. He asked the archaeologists to gather around a pinhole camera made from an empty sweet tin containing a paper negative that was place on the floor. The group managed to stay still for the five minute exposure – must be something about the patience required to be an archaeologist.

More of Chris’s work can be found on Flickr, Facebook, or his personal site. Or you can find him on Twitter.


ƒ/D Interview: Diane Peterson

Editor’s note: all images on this post are ©Diane Peterson

We here at f/D love bringing great photographs to your screens.  Our goal is to take you away from where you are at your place in time and deliver you to a place of inspiration and exploration.  One of our favorite ways of bringing you into our world is by speaking directly with the photographers who create the works that we present on our site.  We search carefully to find  people who truly love the work.  These people love to share their stories and views on photography.  After all, a photographer is also a story teller who uses the waves of light to replace their words.

This week’s featured artist was a pleasure to speak with.  Diane Peterson’s photographs are saturnine with an ethereal tone. Her images are striking yet soothing.  I hope you enjoy her perspectives as much as we do.  It is much to our pleasure to share with you our interview and her works.

[singlepic id=149 w=200 float=right] [/singlepic]Looking at your blog many of your photographs depict the anthropomorphization of characters and animals – see your post from July 2, 2014.  What interests you to create pinholes with these subjects?
In my “Perfect World” I would have numerous humans both adult and children ready to step in to my make believe world and take on the persona of whatever character I want to photograph. However, we live in a relatively isolated area without neighbors and I don’t really have people I can call on to fill in these rolls. About five years ago I realized I could build life size mannequins to use in these situations. I have a background in costume design and clothing construction so whatever I didn’t have in my personal wardrobe was easily created to dress these “people”. Making the mannequins in my size saved me a lot of time and work with outfitting them. I do however keep my eyes open for vintage garments. I started making my own dolls at the age of eight so this is just a natural progression..bigger dolls! I also made dolls with animal faces, masks just make this process a bit quicker and easier.  There are so many photographers out there shooting images of beautiful people and I have never liked the idea of doing the same thing as the next guy. Quirky seems to be my forte’. To me photography is about seeing the hidden picture, something that doesn’t seem obvious..sure, there is a beautiful dress but what is it about the creature wearing the dress, standing in a forest or by a falling down building. I have a very active imagination and these are the kinds of things I enjoy. Some would be totally oblivious to what is happening, so for those my work would probably be boring or strange. Although the mannequin idea came about several years ago it was only a couple years ago I got the idea to add a mask to these “girls”..I think the popular Portland based TV series “Grimm” had a lot to do with the mask idea.

[singlepic id=156 w=600]Rabbit 2, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=152 w=200 float=left][/singlepic]Many of your photos vary on whether you are using paper negatives or different types of film.  Do you have a preferred medium or do you like to try a little of everything?
When I first started doing photography I wanted to use film.. At about the same time I started seeing references to “pinhole” cameras and seeing incredible work being done by a few photographers, with some mention of “paper”, I had no idea what they were talking about. After a few searches on the internet I was excited to get started. However I was entirely ignorant to most of what happens with film and paper and how they become the finished product. I found the name of someone using paper in her pinhole images , took a chance and  wrote her  asking if she could give me pointers on how she used film paper. She responded by sending me a large roll of 4 inch wide stock..yards and yards of it! There are some incredible generous people in the photography world. I now use paper in about 95% of my pinholes. I also use paper in some medium format cameras such as Holga ,Diana and my Agfa Clack. I like to experiment and cutting small pieces of paper and positioning it with bits of scotch tape  lets me do this without wasting and entire roll of film.

[singlepic id=160 w=600]Valentine, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=158 w=200 float=right][/singlepic]Storm Warning, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]Your pinholes carry striking and sometimes startling emotion yet there are nearly no human faces in the photos on your blog.  Why do you choose to communicate without living faces?
Many people have said this exact thing to me! I think many of us derive emotion from things totally unexpected. I know I do. For instance, I take a lot of pinhole images of laundry hanging on clothes lines. For some reason this creates a sense of well being with me.  I have taken these kind of images in Ecuador, in Greece, Iceland, Great Britain, France, Italy..and all have a similar feeling for me. The patience of standing somewhere and hanging out the laundry..what could be simpler and yet many people comment how much they like these shots. So it does speak to many of us, probably drawing  back to a childhood memory. I have a favorite deserted, falling down farmhouse not far from my home that I love taking pictures of..mostly  pinhole, other times a normal camera. I never tire of it, and it always makes me feel welcome. How that can be when no one has lived there in probably seventy five years is amazing. This also comes from what I mentioned above, not having living faces, so I am somewhat compelled to find interesting places with lots of character that have the ability to elicit some emotion from the viewer. Probably a good thing my photos have this ability as I don’t really have a choice and I have become so use to this style that now it seems second nature to my work.

[singlepic id=145 w=600]Clothesline 4, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=159 w=200 float=right] [/singlepic]What is it about the pinhole camera that you love versus a glass lensed camera?
Where do I begin! From the first time I made a successful image using a pinhole camera I was hooked. I first read about pinhole cameras in maybe 2006 in an issue of the British publication “Black & White Photography”. There was an incredible spread of articles highlighting several people using pinholes at that time. I can honestly say that I still go back and read those pages several times a year. I wanted to know everything I could about pinholes, how to make my own cameras, what these people were shooting, tips on exposure, etc. I have always been the type of person that when they want to know a thing they pursue it to whatever length they need to, and this was no exception. Honestly, with all the incredible cameras out there today most anyone can make a beautiful image. I am not really about the “beautiful” perfect image, with me it’s about doing something “different, even unusual. My work definitely qualifies, and that OK with me. Not everyone will try pinhole. Most people are intimidated by it I think. And it could not be simpler. Everyone has their own methods of getting their desired exposure for instance. I use a handy little app called “pinhole assist”, and I can say that it never lets me down. You put in the information and it comes right back with your exposure. And, my gosh, you can make a pinhole camera from almost anything that can be made light tight. That cookie tin that might get thrown out can easily be turned into  the most perfect pinhole camera. How could someone not love that! I have many, many glass  lensed cameras but I use them rarely, always returning to one of my pinhole creations. I have several  beautifully made commercial pinhole cameras but using a left over cigar box, cookie tin, drink can really delights my sense of creativity. I also make my own pinholes with pieces of brass shim and micro drills I order from the east coast of the U.S. I get requests from all over the world from people needing the pinholes. The bottom line is this..you take a tin can, wooden box, discarded container and make it light tight, add a pinhole and some photo paper and leave it out in the light for a bit and the result is a wonderful image. How could you not love this process!

[singlepic id=144 w=600]Ceramic, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=155 w=200 float=left][/singlepic]Do you process your own photos or do you send them out for processing?  Why?
I have processed my own work for years. When I was first starting out in photography, a friend at the time taught me to develop my own film during a long telephone conversation. Luckily my husband was listening because he remembers details better than I, so I could just ask him what step I was missing and he would know! That was a long time ago. Now I could do it in my sleep. And developing paper is the simplest thing in the world. I have our extra bathroom set up as a darkroom with the overhead light being  a safelight. We added a piece of black foam core over the window and instant darkroom. My biggest problem being to remember shutting off the safelight when I am finished! For paper you only need a paper developer , stop bath and fixer. I first started developing paper with Dektol and then tried caffenol. I now also use Rodinol which I really like. There is just something about putting your exposed paper negative into the developer and watching it transform into a tangible piece of art that delights the soul. And the most important reason for doing your own developing..how could you  possible wait to have someone else do it!

[singlepic id=148 w=600]3-2, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


The motion in the sheet music in your photo from Feb 19, 2015, conveys an energy in the music in a way I’ve not seen before. What was your process, creatively and technically, in creating this photo?
Ah, yes! Sometimes I find great props but then have to wait for just the right time to use them..I wanted to “hang” the sheet music in a way that I could capture several sheets at a time like when an orchestra has several musicians playing at once..without lots of music stands around I decided to run a piece of hemp across the back of a vintage truck bed and layer the music across. This called for a  wide angle pinhole camera with the proper focal length to capture the sheet music close enough so the viewer actually knows what it is. Mind you it also had to be a fairly overcast day, though not too dark so the exposure would be so long as to lose the movement… with just a bit of wind to get the swaying motion I wanted…long but not TOO long. .the old record player was thrown in just for fun, just in case someone missed the fact that this was about “Music”!

[singlepic id=157 w=600]Record Player, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=147 w=200 float=right] [/singlepic]Many of your cameras have a distorting effect to them. Can you tell us about how you introduce this distortion to help with your message?
As I mention before I use a lot of created or handmade pinhole cameras to make my images. When I first started out with pinhole I saw images made from circular tins as opposed to square flat “cameras”. This fascinated me. I was eager to try this style of making pinhole images. Just to think one merely had to change the pinhole image taking device positioning from horizontal to vertical or place at a forty-five degree angle to get an unusual picture was incredible in my mind. The curvature of the pinhole tin depending on its diameter can radically change your image.  I love distorting the image because it makes the viewer see things in a different way..Not necessarily “better” but just different. And “different” is good with me. I should add that I read just about everything I can find regarding pinhole imagery. Two of my favorite books are “Adventures with Pinhole and Home-made Cameras by John Evans, and Pinhole Photography, by Eric Renner. I would so recommend these books as a creative primer  to anyone starting out in Pinhole Photography.

[singlepic id=146 w=600]Otis, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


[singlepic id=151 w=200 float=left] [/singlepic]We all have a voice that we use while we are expressing our creative selves.  Do you believe that you have found your voice?  
Most definitely! I mentioned that my background was in textiles and much of my work had been photographed for newspapers etc., but never really thought much about being the person behind the camera. While traveling in Europe with my daughter and granddaughter many years ago I started noticing the incredible images captured by my 10 year old (at the time) granddaughter! I started thinking that perhaps I should be doing this. I started looking at architecture and ruins in an entirely different way. I first tried digital imagery and was turned off by the “flatness” of the images and turned to film. But when I discovered pinhole I knew then I had found the answer to “what I want to be when I grow up” I feel amazingly fortunate to have found this “voice”.

[singlepic id=147 w=600]3, ©Diane Peterson 2015[/singlepic]


Get Inspired – MV Coho

Today’s featured pinhole photo is ready to set sail for the weekend.

MV Coho
[singlepic id=139 w=600]MV Coho, Zero Image 4×5, Paper Negative, ©Kier Selinsky 2015[/singlepic]

I made this image after a long joyful day in Victoria, BC. The MV Coho is the ferry that connects Vancouver Island to Port Angeles, WA. It’s a high style trip that I recommend if you have the chance, especially when the tulips are in season. Here she is moored and awaiting her passengers for the trip back to Washington.

You can find more of my photos on Flickr.