Lena Källberg – one of Sweden’s most dedicated pinheads

Lena Källberg is in constant search of new pinhole cameras and explores different ways of capturing images and experiments with pinhole photography.

Writer / Malin Fabbri
Photography / Lena Källberg

Portrait of Lena Källberg
Portrait of Lena Källberg

Lena Källberg. A petite woman who does not seek attention, but yet, at every exhibition she holds still has a crowd of curious people around her. She has had two recent exhibits in Stockholm, Sweden. At both Lena set up a table and sat herself down and started building cameras. The crowd watches and Lena teaches. By the time the visitors left, they have sampled a collection of Lena’s cameras, picked up a drawing on how to make a Seymore 135 pinhole camera, and has become curious enough to go home and start making one. In true community spirit, she has converted several digiheads to pinheads. Way to go Lena!

Dannemora pinhole holga
One of Lena’s favourite pinhole cameras is made from an old Holga. When her Holga gave up, she modified it to a short focal length (25 mm) pinhole camera. “Dannemora” (image left) is taken with the Holga camera.

During March and April Lena Källberg and Klas Öster exhibited at Delight Studios, Stockholm. Lena showed pinholes taken with a paper cylinder camera, an anamorphic pinhole camera and a matchbox pinhole camera, and Klas showed his Lomography photographs, spanning a few decades.

Lena Källberg Holga pinhole cameraPinholing is Lena’s passion. But I also believe teaching is. Sure, she is happy talking about her work and selling it, but there is more to it. At the huge space at Delight Studios, Lena and the gallerist Guide Hildebrand sealed off one of the rooms, put up thick black curtains, made a tiny hole in it, and build a huge Camera Obscura. I stood inside the Camera Obscura for a long time, watching the upside down and back to front landscape outside. The most interesting thing about standing there, was watching the faces change of the people walking in. The realization of where they were, and the insight of how a pinhole camera works struck, and their faces changed to mirror the curiosity of a child who is learning.

Boat watchers and passers
“Boat Watchers and Passers” is taken with a matchbox pinhole camera.
Anamorphic pinhole camera
Anamorphic pinhole camera

Harriet, Lena’s 7 year old niece nailed it on the head:

“So, you mean we’re inside the camera? But, dad, can you hold me upside down so I can see what it looks like for real!”

Her dad obliged and Harriet was happily dangling upside down watching the landscape outside.

During April and May Lena held another joint exhibition at Galleri Ikon, with Stéphane Chabier, Iwo Myrin, Svante Warping and Peter Wiklund. She acts as the spider in the web, contacting the gallerist, and inviting other pinhole artists to participate.

The Bell Tolls pinhole by Lena Källberg
The Bell Tolls pinhole by Lena Källberg

Lena’s anamorphic pinhole camera was made from a cookie jar. It has two holes and a tripod holder underneath. See “The Bell Tolls” (image below).

Multi pinhole camera

She is working towards being a fulltime pinhole artist, but since pinhole photography is such a narrow field, she supports herself running her own design bureau as well. She shares the studio space with several professional photographers, and has the luxury of her own fully equipped darkroom.

Lena Källberg Multi pinhole camera
Billy is a former bellow camera, with a 6×9 cm negative. At the back, there are 7 holes made from a rubber plate. “14 me” (image left) is taken with Billy.

Lena has the eye of an artist but is also a technician, a curious experimenter and a perfectionist. We spent a day at her studio building multi pinhole cameras, and by the time I had built two, with three holes in each, she was still measuring, piercing and sanding down her first pinhole. Measuring again, starting over, measuring and sanding. Angles were carefully measured to achieve the perfect multi pinhole camera. When Lena builds a pinhole camera nothing is left to chance, though she claims that chance and the unexpected is what is interesting with pinhole cameras. She is in constant search of a new pinhole camera, but not the ultimate one, if she does, her search will be over. She says:

“Two cameras are never the same, they have their own personality. The goal is not to find the ultimate camera, it is the explorative path of seeing how a camera works”.

More of Lena Källberg’s work can be found on Pinhole.se (in Swedish).
Delight studios: delightstudios.com
Galleri Ikon: galleriikon.se

1 thought on “Lena Källberg – one of Sweden’s most dedicated pinheads”

  1. Awesome pinholing. Truly inspiring. I love pinhole photography. I am just starting to get some interesting results and am increasing my pin hole camera collection. Cheers Sharon

Leave a Comment