on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

In Praise of Film Pinhole Photography

Getting hooked

David O'Brien

David recently retired from his role in the legal profession and is looking forward to spending more time on his photography (as well as with his family!).

 Although he has an ongoing flirtation with digital photography, his real passion is film photography, particularly medium format and film pinhole cameras.

flickr.com



Recent years has seen an uptick in interest in lo-fi photography where the pixel sharpness of an image has been de-emphasised in deference to a “look” or “feel” of an image that, in my view, would otherwise be difficult for high-end digital cameras to replicate but this, in truth, is what kindled my initial interest.

Film pinhole photography has been prominent in this recent resurgence; the lensless “look”, when recorded on film, has attracted many to this relatively cheap form of photography - beautiful, handcrafted, oil-waxed, maple or teak wooden pinhole cameras can be purchased new for as little at £70. With no expensive lenses to purchase or detailed menus to scroll through, the relative analogue simplicity of pinhole photography has drawn many new followers over the years, myself included!

With the ability to experiment and use the essential characteristics of a film pinhole camera to produce surprisingly creative, almost unconventional, imagery, pinhole photography has now obtained a core following around the world and, dare I say it, heading for the mainstream.
With the ability to experiment and use the essential characteristics of a film pinhole camera to produce surprisingly creative, almost unconventional, imagery, pinhole photography has now obtained a core following around the world and, dare I say it, heading for the mainstream; there is even an annual celebration of pinhole imagery - Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (usually the last day in April) which the pinhole community has embraced. For those pursuing the traditional pixel sharpness as their photographic nirvana, then look away now as, let’s be clear, a pinhole camera will not generate a traditional “sharp” image; for many, it is this dreamlike, almost impressionistic analogue “look” that draws them into this particular branch of film photography. You can tell I’m hooked! 



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