Through the pinhole darkly

Sunday, 24 april 2011 is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day – an event going into its second decade. Who could make this stuff up? To get a sense of the uniqueness of pinhole-generated images, wander through the archives here.

OK, so what is it?

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, camera obscura, simple photography, how-to make a pinhole camera, global event, historical photographic techniquesAn international event to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography, the founders encourage people of the earth to remove themselves from technology and to participate in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph.

It’s an historical photographic process. A pinhole camera is basic in structure – a camera without a lens and with a single small aperture – effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from a scene passes through this single point and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box. The image can be projected onto a screen for real-time viewing or can be exposed to paper or film.

Typical exposures range from 5 seconds to hours – sometimes days or months.

The pinhole camera is a precursor to the more well-known camera obscura. Pinhole images are softer – less sharp – than those made with a lens. The images have a nearly infinite depth of field and often haunting, stark qualities.

How do I make my own pinhole camera?

Read through this step-by-step article or take a look at the Howcast video below. You’ll be ready to start shooting and contribute to WWPD in no time.

I’m inspired to get started. What about you?

Pinhole camera image: Douglas Whitaker / This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

One Response to “Through the pinhole darkly”

  1. Rose Says:

    is it basically that you don’t know exactly what you’ll get?

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