November 03, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Making photographs without a lens

Pinhole photography is probably the simplest form of making images with light-sensitive materials. It dates back to the earliest days of photography, using the 'camera obscura', which I'm sure most of us recall from primary school. By creating a light-tight box with a pinhole at one end, an image is formed, thanks to the marvels of physics!

I became interested in pinhole recently through the launch of the ONDU wooden camera, created by two Slovenian brothers. These are beautifully handmade, precision pieces, available in several film formats. I chose the 6x9 Classic, which takes 120 format roll film, giving 8 exposures per roll.

The simplicity of use and unpredictability of the images is an antidote to 'driving' a complex digital camera and I find the process of visualising (guessing!) how the camera sees and draws deeply creative and the slow pace is almost meditative.

In use, the camera is simple to load and comes with an engraved wood exposure chart to estimate the exposure at F133. I have also used a Lumu exposure meter with an old iPhone and a Sekonic L-758 exposure meter, which is better for colour transparency film. My favourite films so far have been Ilford FP4+ and Fuji Acros 100:

'Interdit', France.Pinhole camera 6x9 Ilford FP4plus film

Inner harbour and mast, Pier head, Kinsale.Ondu 6x9 pinhole camera, Ilford HP5 plus in Rodinal Special and scanned with Silverfast.

Inner Harbour, Kinsale. Ondu 6x9 Pinhole camera

'Surfers break', Cóte Atlantique, FrancePinhole 6x9 camera, Ilford FP4 plus film.


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