We’ll always have Toledo – Part 1

Let me first tell you about a wonderful and special place. Nestling on the banks of the Cowlitz River (by which there are life preservers for the foolhardy to borrow) is the small town of Toledo, Washington. Advertisement on the nearby freeway entices the traveller to head to Toledo for dipped beef sandwich and a locally brewed beer. By then, dear traveller, you will be ensnared in the charms of Toledo. Some may scoff and tell you there is nothing there but believe me they are wrong. There is a witch tied to a lamppost, a sinister yellow Ford Mustang, a gas station with trucks and fishing gear, a large Baptist church with terrifying signage and a road. This road takes you all the way to Mount St Helens.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film. OK to post to Tumblr but please share from ayonlife.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

When you near the end of the road you reach Coldwater Lake, which was formed when the mountain erupted. All the images on the post were either made at Coldwater Lake or on that special road. I travelled this road with Jana Obscura, a most talented photographer and incredibly gracious host. From tolerating the change from Quittin’ time to JPop on the car stereo to trying not to freak out when the phone signal went Jana managed it all and I am forever in her debt.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

But what the heck is a greying Brit doing in Washington (and Oregon) in the first place? Well, remember that trip I took to Amsterdam last year for WPPD 2014? Well WPPD 2015 was spent in Portland Oregon, and that aforementioned freeway took us to Portland from Jana’s home in Seattle. Many incredible pinhole photographers and friends live in Portland, and many more visited for this amazing weekend. From all corners of the globe they came, they ate, they drank and they laughed. I cannot think of a better way to spend WPPD, and you know what, next year we do it all again in Barcelona.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

I’ll post more about the trip soon, and talk more about the folks who were there, and show a little more of what I made. At this point I’ll just make special mention of the amazing Penny Felts who gave me courage to continue shooting this instant film, without her these shots may never have happened.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

 

Otherwise, I just want to remember that small bar, the in-progress copper top and the customer with the ice-washed denim tuxedo. Jana, we’ll always have Toledo…this one’s for you!

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

Made with a Supersense 66/6 instant pinhole camera on some kind of instant film.

Timos Lytras

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

Hello, I’m Timos and I live in Athens, Greece. I shoot pictures for more than three decades, and I still shoot a roll of film now and then, although the vast majority of my pictures are digital.

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

I shoot pinhole images with the “Wanderlust pinwide” lens, attached to a m43 camera. I never happened to shoot pinhole in film. Admin’s note, it might just be me but this seems a little unusual. I know lots of pinhole photographers who have never shot digital pinhole but very few where this works the other way. Read on, as Timos was kind enough to answer a few extra questions about this.

Timos2

Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual? 

The “Unusual” type of shooting I do is film photography with two lomography cameras, the “Sprocket Rocket”, a wide angle camera and the “Spinner 360”, a film camera that takes a 360 degree shot (including the photographer’s face). Admin’s note…thinks…360 degree pinhole…mmmm.

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

Unfortunately I don’t use any homemade camera, only off the shelf ones.

Timos3

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

The Panasonic G6 that I use now. The m43 format is the perfect balance between size and quality for me and it allows also to try other creative points of view, such as the digital pinhole and the cctv lenses. Admin’s note, as an aside, I wonder if there are CCTV lenses available that are pinhole? This is for another project, of which there may be more some time in the future…anyway, back to Timos (but let me know if you know).

How long have you shot pinhole?

Since three years more or less.

Why did you start shooting pinhole?

I like the ethereal feel that a pinhole image gives. The result of a pinhole image is completely different than the images we are used to see everyday, it takes the eye away of the details and more into the overall mood of the image.

Timos4

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

I travel often and I like to capture with my camera everything new that I see, especially the feeling of a place that I haven’t seen before. These photos are from many different places, from Greece which is my home country to other European countries and even from the Middle East. Admin’s note, for me there’s a great thread that runs through these images which is the atmosphere. The darker tones work really well with the subject matter, this is a great set of images IMHO.

Timos5

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

I shoot individual images. My pinhole images are mostly landscapes (even urban ones) but I have tried some street photography, too. My digital camera allows normal speeds when using high iso, if there is enough light, of course. Admin’s note, I’ve often wondered about the ISO advantage. It could be really useful on the one hand, but you would lose the long exposure. I guess its all about the result you want.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

Unfortunately not (so far, at least). I happen to be very busy in real life so I never had the chance to think about an exhibition and organize it.

Timos6

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

Zeb Andrews is a photographer who’s work I enjoy a lot.

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

Yes, mostly street photography and landscapes.

Timos7

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

I wouldn’t say that I prefer pinhole, I see it as something special, something different from my main shooting style, that gives me an opportunity to express myself in an alternative way.

You shoot digital pinhole images rather than film or paper, did you make that decision because of convenience or for another reason?

Actually it is a matter of conveniance for me, because shooting on film would mean to carry another camera with me. I try to eliminate as much as possible the gear I carry with me (this is one of the reasons I use m4/3 cameras) so in this time of my life I prefer using one additional small lens instead of another camera and some rolls of film (let alone a tripod), in order to shoot pinhole images. Admin’s note, I travel a lot as well and that’s a constant battle for me as well. I always end up taking all the cameras :-).

Timos9

What advantages and disadvantages do you think there are shooting digitally?

As i mentioned above, the main advantage is that no additional gear is needed. There is also the usual advantage of digital photography that the result is immediatly shown and no additional cost is needed to purchase film rolls, develop and scan them. Finally, the specific lens I use for my photos, the “Wanderlust pinwide”, is very wide, equivalent to 22mm on 35mm camera, which I like because I mostly shoot landscapes when I am in “Pinhole mode”. One final advantage is the ability to shoot in “Normal” shooting speeds, without the need of a tripod, because digital gives the opportunity of high ISO and stabilization. Admin’s note, I think this is a really interesting insight into the choices Timos has made. It makes perfect sense to me, and its great to hear this articulated so well.

The disadvantages are that with film one can always work with the large format film, from 35mm to larger, which gives a very special pinhole look and  all the relative benefits of depth of field and resolution.

Timos11

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

Unfortunately I don’t have a website of my own but my work can be seen in my Flickr photostream.

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

Thank you too for giving me the opportunity to present my work.

So, I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did. Its great to have someone who regularly shoots digital on here. I guess next I need to find someone who uses paper. As per usual, please respect Timos’ copyright. All images are copyright Timos Lytras and should not be used in any form without prior permission.

Timos13

Márcio Faustino

Hi Pinholista, please introduce yourself.

My name is Márcio Faustino, I was born in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and I was living near Freiburg in Germany (but have recently moved to near Hamburg). Before I used to live in Dublin where I actually start take photographs more seriously.

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

Large and panoramic medium format are the ones I like the best, mostly because I prefer make contact prints and conserve the original size from the negative. Most of the time black and white but some times I experiment with colours. Medium format panoramic and 4×5 large format have about the size of postcards which I think is charming. Admin’s note, I completely agree about the joy of making contact prints from a large negative, if only I had the time to do that.

Do you ever shoot anything a little more unusual? 

Not really. The most unusual I shoot is panoramic 6×17 medium format which is not that unusual.

Dreaming Tree, 2015 by Marcio Faustino

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

My first five pinhole cameras I made myself. They where between 3×4 and 15×15 large format. But it was when I was still learning about pinholes. I don’t use them today anymore.

When I decided to focus on pinhole photography I bought the cameras, specially because I trust more manufactures pins and quality than my home made cameras. Admin’s note, I have to say the idea of a 15×15 large format camera fills me with a special kind of joy!

What’s your favourite camera to use and why?

It is the one called “Reality so Subtle 141” a ultra wide medium format panoramic 6×17 camera with back curved plane to avoid vignetting. I just love the camera.

How long have you shot pinhole?

I first started in the spring/summer of 2013 but it was more about building cameras than actually taking pictures. The photographs I made from that period was just test shots. After a long break I am almost only photographing with pinhole since December 2014.

Winter in Titisee, 2015 by Marcio Faustino

Why did you start shooting pinhole and why?

The reason is its simplicity and “rustic” look.

I use to walk a lot in the forest, cities and mountains because I like exploring places. With me I had always one or sometimes two heavy cameras and lenses. Until the day I realised I could instead carry pinhole cameras. They are so light that I feel my bag as if it was empty. I don’t have to worry about lenses, batteries, rain and snow, impacts and many other small things. I also can take large format photographs with a pinhole camera that is the same size of my smaller format lensed cameras. And pinhole photography costs are very attractive.

A part from the tool itself, before I started with pinhole I have being following the path to a more rustic look in my photographs. This is the reason I was shooting 99% with film negatives using old cameras before.

Technology is great but in many ways it is also a distraction in my opinion. Pinhole is photography at its purest form. Admin’s note, what great reasons for shooting pinhole. I have a lovely 4×5 large format pinhole (see here [link to RSS]) that is a nice light camera to walk around with and yet which delivers massive negatives. 

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

Hunger with fruits, 2014, was one of the first photographs I took just after start using pinhole camera as my official tool.

It was photographed in a raining day. Instead of waiting for a clear sky day to go out, I thought it was a good idea experiment with bulb light. Using a 150w bulb and a white umbrella light diffuser I had to place the light very near and pull the ISO from Delta 100 up to 200, because I didn’t want to wait for a exposure of +4h and I had only Delta 100 in the moment. The result was a very contrasty negative image.

Despite the work I had made to make the print look better I am happy with this photograph because of the shapes lines, contrast and composition

I bought some contrast filters because of this print, but I didn’t print it again using filters. I just moved forwards.

Dreaming Tree, 2014, was shot a few minutes from home. Every day I take the train to work I see this field with some trees, and every day I told myself that I should one day bring my camera to take a photograph there.

So in a beautiful day I went there and while preparing everything for the photograph a boy walking his dog came to observe what I was doing. After a while he asked “why are you photographing this tree and not that one?” pointing to a tree just besides the one I was shooting.

I thought it was a strange question but I got what he meant and answered “This three has more shapes which looks attracting and interesting to my eyes. The one beside has more straight lines, meaning less shapes, looking less interesting and dull.

The boy walked away maybe thinking it was a strange answer. Admin’s note, what a great story, I like the fact that the boy made Marcio think about what he was photographing. I’ve also found people love pinhole cameras, and I guess that was shown again here.

Titisee Winter, 2014, was shot in a town in the Black Forest called Titisee.

I was very curious and excited to see if and how I could photograph scenes with snow. And it was snowing very light during the exposure but since it is a pinhole camera I was glad I didn’t have to worry about it getting wet. And since it was about 7min exposure time the scene appears very clean, without snow flakes flying around.

I just kept one eye on the orange filter hanging in front of the pin in case of snow landing on it, which didn’t happen.

I like the mix of large format sharpness and pinhole soft focus which handle very well in this image in my opinion. This three images was made with Ilford Obscura, a one shot camera but it does the job very well.

One month after shooting with Ilford Obscura I got a Reality So Subtle 141. I was very excited to photograph ultra wide panoramic.

Freiburg Cathedral, 2015 by Marcio Faustino

Freiburg Cathedral, 2015, was a 3 long hours of exposure in a cold building. To warm myself I had to walk around sometimes, but always keeping my eyes on the camera just in case. Since it was a very long exposure time I didn’t have to worry about all the tourists passing by.

The good thing about pinhole cameras is that I can set it behind something for an exposure and it won’t catch much attention depending on its size and shape. To make sure nobody would trip on my camera, I installed it on a tripod on a low level, so people could see and avoid stepping on the camera, but in a low level to don’t occupy much space avoiding attracting the building administrators attention or annoying tourists.

About the same I took the Freiburg Strassbahn, 2015. Because of the smaller space the camera and the tripod attracted much more attention. I went to the last stop and installed my camera there, in the end of the last wagon, just to avoid unhappy conductor complaints.

People coming in through the door seemed very surprised and  a bit worried about what the saw at the first moment, but only one person said something. This person actually screamed “ehaaa what is it???”. After telling that it was my camera he just said “ok” and ignored it afterwards.

Could be that people was so worried they where even afraid to say something… I don’t know. Admin’s note, sadly I think many of us have encountered folks unhappy with seeing a camera. In the UK people seem to hate being photographed, but I tend to find if you talk to them, and explain what you are shooting and why they tend to be OK…just as Marcio found.

Freiburg Rathausplatz, 2015, is where usually tourists and locals go to enjoy the good weather days on weekends. This was the first photograph I had in mind to actually mix people standing still and moving people, which add an special effect or feeling to the scene. The warm colours is also what I appreciate on film photographs, the reason I always prefer Kodak Portra even for landscapes, architecture and nature.

But its very seldom I do colour photography. I like the dreaming aspect of the black and white images and I work better with them in the darkroom.

Freiburg strassbahn, 2015 by Marcio Faustino

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

I have many themes that I shoot very often and again with my lensed cameras. Pinhole is new for me and I am still exploring its possibilities. At the moment I am only photographing landscape, cityscapes and seldom still, but as soon as I recover my financial stability (if I do) I want experiment with street portraits, continuous my ‘legs and feet’ photographs theme, ‘Bad Weather’, all shot in the streets using random people I find on the way.

But I probably will have to get a 6×6 pinhole camera to be able to experiment with theses themes.

Have you ever exhibited your work?

I had 3 formal exhibition in 3 countries (New Zealand, Ireland and Germany). But none of them were with my pinhole photographs but before I started with pinhole photography.

Exhibition is not something I am into because since I am often broke and so I always have trouble framing my photographs for the show; especially here in South Germany where the prices are way too high (and far from realistic). I just can’t afford it.

Tell us about a great pinhole photographer.

Aberlado Morell use interior rooms as a big pinhole camera. He cover the window leaving only the hole to let the image out side window project on the interior walls. I think this project from him is great.

To be honest (I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant), I don’t follow other photographers work. I can tell names and I remember a couple of images from them, I sure enjoy look at others work when I see them in the internet as well as I would love to live in a more busy city with galleries and museums exhibiting photographs, especially pinhole photographs. But I am too distracted and my memory is too short to keep my mind on others activities. I can only focus on what I can do and on survive so I can continuos doing what I enjoy doing. Admin’s note, this doesn’t seem arrogant at all. In fact I think it is really refreshing. I often think that you can shoot more for yourself and make the images you want without interference in your own process if you don’t think too much about the images others make. All that being said, i do love the community of pinhole photographers (and have made some great friends through it) . 

For this reason I can’t tell much about Morell and any other pinhole photographer. I could google them but I prefer to confess than pretend.

Freiburg Rathausplatz, 2015 by Marcio Faustino

Do you shoot other styles of photography?

I do lensed analog photography and very seldom digital photography too.

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

I prefer pinhole because I prefer to work on the simplest way as possible. I also enjoy the workflow the better. Even for events like wedding and photographing models for nude and fashion, I am always thinking on how I could do with pinhole cameras, wishing to be able to experiment some day soon.

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

Yes, my pinhole photographs can be seeing at:

http://www.marciofaustino.com/pinhole.html

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

Thank you. :)

All photographs are copyright Marcio Faustino and must not be used without prior permission. I know you know this, please respect it.