Redscale at Latitude

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A quick and dirty post today about what, I think, was basically a bit of a failed experiment. As well as loving pinhole photography I also love music, and I was really fortunate that the might Kraftwerk played at a festival about 30 miles away from where I live. So, I headed off for a day of sun and music…and of course took a pinhole camera.

For some reason, I decided to take one of my less used pinhole cameras. This is a 35mm cardboard camera, which came as a bundle with a book (Create Your Own Pinhole Camera). I replaced the supplied pinhole with a electron microscopy grid (and yes…I will, if you are lucky, post about those grids some time soon) as I found the images a little less sharp than desirable.

I also decided to load the camera with DIY redscale film, made using Agfa Vista Plus 200 (which is available very cheaply in the UK at the moment). Making the red scale is really easy, all you need is an old film canister (or a reusable one) and just flip the emulsion round. You might need a changing bag but in this case I did not as I could swap round the orientation of the film cans in the camera.

As you’ll see from the shots, the redscale hasn’t scanned so well, and the camera had a bit of a light leak so all in all I’d call this a failed experiment. Its worth posting though. Happy shooting kids!

WPPD in Amsterdam

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There has been some chat on various social networks about potentially spending WPPD in Amsterdam in 2014. If you need to know more about WPPD then check here, in 2014 it falls on 27 April 2014.

So, here’s the thing…both myself and Inge from pinhole obscura are very much up for this idea, but we’re not going to organise anything other than a photowalk on WPPD, an entry on the WPPD website and perhaps, if you are really lucky, some food and drink. Not that we’re lazy, but everyone has a different budget, idea of good accommodation, idea of a nice neighbourhood etc. So, if you want to do this, come to Amsterdam, sort out a place to stay, have a great time and join us for a WPPD photowalk. How will you know where the walk will be…just contact me and I’ll be in touch. I will let you know where I plan to stay, once I’ve got my shit together! Hope to see you on WPPD…Happy Shooting!

Square Peg Pinhole

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I’m delighted to welcome the first featured Pinholista to this site, the remarkable (and hairy) Square Peg Pinhole.

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself

I’m the third Herschel Newton Pollard. I’m the product of an English mother and an American father. I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, a city of about one million in the southeastern U.S. Yes, we wear shoes.

The second HNP is my father, who’s an artist. The first, my grandfather, was an entomologist for the U.S. government. Pinhole photography feels like a great leap from my grandfather’s science but I do enjoy shooting pictures of bugs. That makes it ok, right? Admin’s note – no excuses are needed…being a Pinholista is a calling!

Oh, and BTW, I’m not wearing shoes as I type this.

Tell us a little about the type of pinhole photography you enjoy

I typically shoot pinholes on colour 120 film. My favourite is Kodak Portra 160, which I find has a nice blue tint on long exposures. My camera allows me to shoot various aspect ratios, which is the main reason why I prefer 120. Typically, I shoot 6×9, but on occasion switch to square aspect. I don’t have an aversion to black & white, but since I don’t have a darkroom and since local labs don’t develop B&W, it means I have to mail order development. It’s too much hassle. Within the last year, I’ve started shooting Impossible Project film using a camera I built out of an old Polaroid integral back for a project called “Instant Year.” I like this format for numerous reasons: unpredictable results cause by unpredictable film; instant(ish) results; ease of scanning.

Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual?

My pinholes are fairly straight-laced, but that’s primarily because I’m not very good at building. I see what some other photographers are doing with experimentation (folks like Howard (?last name? Whemax) and James Guerin) and I drool. I started building an 120 anamorphic camera a while back, but it failed miserably. It’s still on my build agenda. I guess the integral film camera I build falls into the “unusual” category, but really, it’s just another simple box with film.

Do you use off the shelf cameras, home-made or a mix?

See above. I have a mixed bag. I’ve created numerous paper cams, but those don’t count since I don’t really use them. My shelf includes…a couple of Zero Image 6×9, a Zeiss Ikon Nettar conversion, a CB-72 Polaroid foam core homemade, a Holga 120 WPC, and a few homemade pinhole caps for my Nikon.

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

Zero Image. Simple to use and I’m so used to it that shooting is second nature. I don’t have to think about lighting conditions or time. I just stop and shoot with good results 90% of the time.

How long have you shot pinhole?

I built my first pinhole cam in 2003 (foam core and polaroid 545 back…I so miss Type 55 film).

Why did you start shooting pinhole and why?

A friend of mine (who you remind me of in many ways), Elliot, is wickedly smart (Admin’s note – clearly nothing like me!). He entertains himself by learning new things. He came for a long visit one Christmas and decided we needed to find something to entertain ourselves. Pinhole it was. I fell in love with the process, the thinking involved and the results. My wife got me my first Zero Image a few months later.

You’ve given us a few images to share, tell us about them

I’ve tried to pick photos that show the main aspects that I really like about pinhole:

  • Ability to be confusingly dreamy sharp (images 03 and 04)
  • Ability to get long exposures during the daytime without a filter (all of ‘em)
  • Infinite DoF (images 01-04)
  • Ability to capture motion blur (image 06)
  • Softness (image 05)

Admin’s note, hover over the images to get the image number…I know you probably know that already!

Do you shoot individual images or do you work within themes or on projects?

I shoot when something captures my attention (usually light), even within projects. Occasionally I’ll really think about a shot I want to take but mostly it’s spur of the moment. I think that’s why I haven’t really focused on projects in the past (of course, there’s a but), but I did decide to start a long-term project earlier this year, Instant Year. Since the theme is media based, rather than subject based, I still continue my pattern of showing what I see.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

I’ve exhibited a couple of times, but only at Nashville coffee shops. I realized after the most recent show (September 2013), that showing work like that is not nearly as rewarding as I’d like. Yes, I like that people are seeing my work on a wall, but the reality is that I can share with far more people through the Internet. As for selling…well, I’m not certain people buy art in coffee shops (I know I never have). I did manage to sell a few pieces this last go around, but I didn’t make up the cost of putting the show together. Sometimes I wonder if a gallery show would feel more productive and do a better job of making this hobby feel legitimate in some way (how I will know when I’ve attained Pinholirvana???? I stop trying to justify something I just really enjoy doing.

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer

Well, there once was a man from Nantucket (or was it Kent?). Hell, Alex, there are so many. I think you know most of the same ones I do…Howard, Jesús, Jana, Larissa, Ross, you (Admin’s note – shucks…the cheque’s in the post), Zeb, Scott…the list is kinda endless.

I do know Penny, personally. She’s in Nashville and I’ve had the privilege of shooting with her. When we first met, I thought she was just a Polaroid chick, but turns out she’s been shooting instant pinholes for years (perhaps longer than I’ve been shooting pinholes in general). She’s so different in terms of subject matter. Almost all of the pinholers I know shoot landscapes or still life or other things that don’t really move. Only a few shoot humans on a regular basis. She does, though. And the images she produces are beautiful, in all the ways pinhole and instant film should be beautiful. She’s the main reason why I started the Instant Year project…it gave me reason to shoot instant pinholes. Turns out that works both ways… I’ve inspired her to shoot more pinholes, too (Admin’s note – definitely check Penny’s work out, she has an incredible eye and style).

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

To be honest, not really. I will pick up a “normal” camera (which in my case means something film-based) on occasion but I find I shoot a few shots before I return to pinhole. I think it may be time to sell my digital SLR. I haven’t used it in more than a year. I do shoot phone pics, but only when I’m stuck without a camera or when it’s something that really won’t work in pinhole.

Assuming you do shoot other styles, do you prefer pinhole and if so, why?

I like to think…so, I think that’s why I prefer pinhole. Even though shooting the Zero Image that is second nature (almost thoughtless, really), there are still times I have to stop and really think about how I will take the image. I mean way beyond just angle and composition. I have to think because there’s no chimping. If I miss the shot, I won’t know about it for a long time, and by the time I do realize the shot is probably changed or gone. So, yes, I prefer pinhole because I like to think.   Writing that, I realize…most pinholistas are really freakin’ smart. Hmmm.

Thesis: Smart people use dumb cameras; dumb people use smart cameras.

Finally, where can people see your work, do you have a website?

In too many places to list. Flickr, which is where I throw all my shit just to see what sticks, is probably the most consistent spot. Although I will be taking a short break.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your work with Pinholista.com

OK folks, I hope you enjoyed meeting Square Peg, he is an amazing photographer and a great guy as well. If you’d like to share your work on Pinholista.com then please get in contact. Happy Shooting! Oh yeah, all works are copyright of Herschel Pollard, don’t thief them or he and me will be cross…that’s two hairy middle aged cross men…wanna take the risk?

Prism Experiment

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I’ve been experimenting with prisms…they rock!

So far, all of my experiments have been pretty basic and have involved me holding the prism in front of the pinhole. I guess the major problem I have encountered, apart from the challenge of holding the prism steady, has been interference with the shutter mechanism. Also, the results are not incredibly predictable…at least not yet. However, I think this could go somewhere with a little patience and trial and error. If you’re interested, the prism is an equilateral one! Happy shooting and experimenting.

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Call for Submissions

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I don’t wish to sound needy or anything, but I need your help. I want Pinholista.com to showcase not only my photography but also photography from Pinholistas around the world. I also really want to provide city guides for the travelling Pinholista. To do this, I need you!

So, if you’d like to show your work here or would be willing to write a city guide then please get in touch here. I’ve already been in touch with a few people so I will have some work coming soon, all being well, but I can always do with more. Obviously I’ll respect your copyright etc. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you and (I hope) to receiving your contribution. Happy Shooting!