Back to Basics

As I have posted before, I will be teaching a digital pinhole workshop for the Washington School of Photography this winter. A few weeks back someone asked me why someone would need a class to get into digital pinhole when all you have to do is poke a hole in some aluminum foil. Technically in the most basic terms this is true. But how and why does the pinhole aperture work, and what is it historical origins and its effect on modern photography?

These are some of the topics that I will cover, but also digital pinhole is about melding ancient optical knowledge with cutting edge technology. By dong this the student can experiment with the optical fundamentals of pinhole photography without the expense and processing time delays involved with film based pinhole image making. Is this a substitute for film based pinhole photography? Not by a long shot! Digital pinhole photography is a gateway to exploring optical and photographic history/theory and greater artistic possibilities.

The magic of camera obscures and pinhole cameras are their simplicity, but also the fact that many of these devices are works of art. One artist making high art pinhole cameras is Wayne Martin Belger. Be sure to check out his “Third Eye” camera when you visit his web site!

To be a better photographer/artist, learn your history and theory, then add a health dose of your own creativity. Notice that I did not say to learn any “rules”. If you are in the DC area and are interesting in the digital pinhole class at WSP, please contact the school for information.

Go forth and create!

** The diagram above is a comparative depiction of the human eye and the camera obscure taken from an early eighteenth-century book illustration. **


~ by Phil Nesmith on September 8, 2007.

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