Pinhole: subjects

Pinhole photography is great fun (if you’re that way inclined!). The challenge and almost unlikely prospect of getting a decent photograph without using modern technology – or at the very least, something with a half-decent lens – is undeniably part of the fun. The thought that you might be metaphorically thumbing your nose at more than a century of photographic R&D to produce something that you can proudly hang on the wall, is one of life’s quiet little pleasures.

For me, producing a pinhole that’s as perfect as possible, and building or modifying a camera to take it, has definite appeal as well. Then there’s the anticipation of the result: was the framing any good?; how’s the exposure?; does it work?

In all of this though, it’s often easy to forget that the end result ought to be a photograph that can be exhibited in its own right, regardless of what camera was used to take the image. It is tempting to say ‘Look at this, it was taken through a pinhole,’ but that might not be enough; I have to remind myself of this from time to time. I recall a judge’s comment, after entering a professional print competition:

  1. it doesn’t matter how difficult it was to get the photograph, how long it took, or how much lighting kit you had to use, the only thing that counts is, ‘is the result any good?’

The same principle then, ought to apply to pinhole photography. Clearly, there is a difference, in the inherent shortcomings of the pinhole system – not least of which is low resolution – but by working within the limitations of the technology, something good (or even great) can be produced. It might need to be indentified as a pinhole image, to avoid being judged by a different set of parameters, but that’s debatable, if the image is otherwise a good’un.

Of course, I risk being hoist by my own petard here!

Journal Comments

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