If there is one day I look forward to each year, it is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day! Artists from around the world are encouraged to use a pinhole camera (either purchased or homemade) and take lens-less photos.
I’ve participated almost every year for the last several years, and try and come up with something new for each pinhole day. This year I built mini 35mm film canister cameras.
The cameras were quite simple to make. I drilled a hole in the side of the canister. Then I fitted each camera with a hand made pinhole drilled into a small scrap of pop can aluminum. To complete the analog look, I used a 70’s Dymo labeler to mark each camera.
Each of the cameras was loaded with Ilford Pearl finish Mulitgrade RC photo paper, cut to 1 3/4 x 2 inch negatives. Exposure times were from 3 seconds in direct sunlight, to 10 seconds in the shade. I even calculated and successfully completed one 5 minute exposure inside a park shelter with beautiful sunlight filtering in from the windows above.
I had a total of 13 cameras/13 exposures on Pinhole Day. The amount of cameras was restricted by the re-purposed TDK cassette holder I used to hold the cameras. After jotting down the camera number and the exposure time for each photograph, the cameras were turned upside down in the case. It was easy to see what cameras were already exposed, and how many little cameras I had left to shoot.
I also brought along a Pinhole, Printed Flyer 6×6 pinhole camera, loaded with an ancient roll of Kodak Plus-x from the 1970’s. Between the Flyer and the 13 mini cameras, I had a lot to choose from for my Pinhole Day submission.
I chose the image of the Velvet beer advertisement (pictured at the top of the page). This faded add is on the side of a building in Danville, IL. The exposure was 10 seconds, with the extremely wide angle camera positioned on a tripod right next to the building. I was amazed at the details in the image, all from a hand drilled pinhole in a piece of pop can, mounted on a plastic 35mm film canister!
Making images with a pinhole camera is always a little unpredictable. This is what makes it so much fun!