Photography studio, gallery and training complex

Back Through The Pinhole

Always at the forefront of technological advances in photography, last weekend we were making photographs with… beer cans. And cream crackers. I kid you not.

The UK’s go-to Pinhole Photography guru Justin Quinnell made the journey up from deepest darkest Bristol to lead us through the low-tech but enchanting world of the pinhole and the camera obscura. And no-one does it quite like Justin. To acquaint ourselves with the principles of the pinhole, we began by playing with some of Justin’s own camera obscuras, the sort that Blue Peter would be proud of, including the legendary “eye-scura”, fashioned from a bin.

Man and dustbin in perfect harmony. Justin Quinnell and the "eye-scura".

Man and dustbin in perfect harmony. Justin Quinnell and the “eye-scura”.

The "eye-scura" as modelled by moi. Not one of my finest moments.

The “eye-scura” as modelled by moi. Not one of my finest moments.

Then the group moved on to hand-crafted cameras made from drinks cans loaded with photographic paper which when exposed, was developed conventionally in our temporary darkroom (also known as the dressing room).

Aisling almost ready for her close-up.

Aisling almost ready for her close-up.

And here’s one of the better beer can results, a self-portrait taken by Chris Hurrell

Beer can pinhole photograph by Chris Hurrell

Beer can pinhole photograph by Chris Hurrell

Here’s a developed print (a negative – it becomes a positive when scanned and inverted in Photoshop)…

Me being negative as usual.

Me being negative as usual.

Just to remind us we are in the digital age, Justin also converted a couple of DSLR‘s into pinhole cameras (temporarily, I should stress). And the last activity of the day involved taking pictures with a camera where the “pinholes” were actually the holes in a cream cracker gaffa-taped to the front of a camera (box) resulting in a sort of kaleidoscopic fly’s-eye image.

Never one to let a good thing get away, I hung on to Justin long enough for him to also speak to our f2 club meeting the following evening. As always, Justin is a fascinating and passionate speaker, infecting us all with his enthusiasm and passion. As one person commented on Facebook,  “Fantastic talk, a really engaging man. Full of energy for what he does… I’m sure we all benefited from the message that sometimes it doesn’t matter what we get out of it, it’s the trying and the idea that are just as important. No rules, and as he said ‘just do it‘”.

Couldn’t have put it better myself. So I won’t. I’ll just say we look forward to bringing Justin Quinnell back again soon.

All colour images taken (hastily) on iphone.

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