Anthony Mournian from the Photographers’ Formulary reviews the pinhole guide, and makes a few pinholes himself.
“From pinhole to print” says it all. Simply and elegantly. In a booklet of less than fifty pages the authors have distilled the history and the process of pinhole photography.
Written in clear, direct language, and illustrated with drawings, diagrams and photographs that speak volumes, From pinhole to print performs exactly as advertised.
It inspires, instructs and gives insights into this ancient and always fascinating alternative process.
When I travel to Shanghai, China this summer I’ll be taking a copy to help me and my grandson, Paul, make pinhole photographs of the Total Eclipse of the Sun. There is no more awesome celestial event, and no better way to observe and to photograph it than with pinhole photography. If you are the least bit intrigued by pinhole photography, you’ll find this little book an indispensable aid to construction of your camera and the making of your print.
The co-authors of From pinhole to print are Malin and Gary Fabbri, of Alternative Photography.com, with Peter Wiklund of Stockholm Sweden. Their little volume is available for immediate purchase here.
No matter how sophisticated the camera, you have to take off the lens cap. After reading From pinhole to print by Malin and Gary Fabbri, with Peter Wiklund, I decided to try my hand at this ancient craft using small tin cans formerly the home of Heinz Tomato Sauce. My wife made a generous portion of Susie’s Special Spaghetti Sauce, leaving me with three nice cans, approximately three inches in diameter. I used From pinhole to print to figure out how large to make the pinhole, and pieces of an aluminum pie tin as the sites for the pinholes.
Malin’s booklet led me through the simple steps of constructing the camera
coating the inside with flat black poster paint. I sealed the inside of each pinhole with a small square of non-reflective black tape to prevent an inadvertent paintover of my carefully drilled and smoothly sanded pinholes on aluminum.
Using lith film I took my first three photos of a lion-faced fountain in the front patio. After carefully mixing my chemistry I began the development of what I knew would be pristine paper negatives which I would later turn into positive prints by contact printing.
Success was not to be. None of the three shots came out. Nothing registered on the lith film though I exposed for 45 seconds, 90 seconds and three minutes. Nothing at all. I tried again, using Ilford FB Glossy. Same three cameras, same three exposure intervals, and the same miserable failure. What was wrong? The pinholes must be too small, I thought. I took the cameras to the other side of my workspace and opened them up. My “drill” was a number 9 embroidery needle with its eye embedded in the pink eraser on the end of a No. 2 pencil.
With the needle drill in one hand and a camera in the other, I stuck my index finger down inside the camera to cover the back side of the pinhole and to feel the needle drill as it came through. My finger rubbed across something coarse. I couldn’t see it because of the non-reflective black paint, but I could feel it. Something was in there. I turned on the overhead light and looked at the back side of the pinhole. A great, “Ah, ha!” went off in my head as I looked down to see the area of the pinhole still carefully covered with that wonderful square of black, nonreflective tape which I had used to cover the pinhole and to prevent painting over it.
Note to photographers: Don’t forget to take off the lens cover.
Or, in my case, don’t forget to remove the tape that covers the pinhole, inside or outside the camera!