The miracle of photography is experienced in its most heightened form through a pinhole workshop. I’ll never understand how I completed a National Diploma in Graphic Design and a HND in Photography without being taught about the pinhole camera. It wasn’t until I started teaching full-time myself that I learned about this subject. The amazing thing is, as my 7 students learned yesterday, that you start the day with a shoebox or biscuit tin and after about an hour using only black card, scissors, tape, a square of black plastic and a pin, you can make a usable camera.
Guessing the exposure takes a little longer (unless you do some complex maths), because every camera (or box in this case) has a different size, or distance from the pinhole to the paper negative (traditional photo paper). Fortunately, with everyone using the same pin, the ‘lens’ diameter is the same. Considering that the only adjustment to exposure was time, 3 of the 9 cameras made in the workshop made acceptable paper negatives at the first shoot. After another couple of tries everyone had a good exposure. Keeping the cameras still, through exposures of between 1 and 8 minutes with a little wind around, proved to be the next challenge. And the final challenge was getting an interesting image. The image below is a pinhole photo of her mum by a 5 year old called Ophelia and has the quality of Julia Margaret Cameron.
My next pinhole workshop is on Saturday 4th September at the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington and is for anyone over 14. Please get in touch with the Plough to book a place.