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Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

30 March 2009
By Sean


As some of you may already know, Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is now less than a month away.  April 26th marks the day the world will unite behind their pinhole cameras and very slowly and silently fire away.  It is the one day a year when photographers and photo enthusiasts alike are encouraged to set aside their digitals and grab the most lo-fi piece of photography equipment ever, the pinhole camera.

I have been taking pinhole photographs for about 5 years.  I own several pinhole cameras, many of which I have either made from scratch or made by modifying existing cameras.  I’m not sure I have a concrete reason for shooting with pinholes other than the fact that it’s incredibly fun and even after years of practice I’m still astounded when I get my film back from the lab.  There are always surprises some good, some bad – I anticipate both.


For those who are unfamiliar with what a pinhole camera is I’ll give a brief description (I’m going to skip all the technical BS, it’s not that important).  A pinhole camera is a lensless camera.  Light passes through a tiny hole (fractions of a millimeter, in most cases), is inverted once it passes the hole and then lands on your film or light sensitive paper.  Exposures can range from a few seconds to several hours to several days depending on the light sensitive material used and the diameter of the pinhole on the camera.  If you want a more technical description see Nic Nichols’ blog.

Most homemade pinhole cameras that I have seen are pretty crude and only take photo paper, which creates a paper negative.  Cameras like the Altoids pinhole, or ‘Pintoid’ come to mind.  (I like this demo because a Barbie models the supplies you’ll need)  There are, however, some very nice homemade pinhole cameras, such as this 4×5 pinhole made of foam core (I really really love foam core).  I have also published a tutorial on this blog that instructs you on how you can build a 35mm pinhole camera out of a cheap crappy plastic point and shoot camera (All of the pictures below were taken with this type of pinhole).

While you get all geared up and ready for WPPD be sure to check out the official site here.  It’s loaded with good information and best of all allows you to upload your pinhole pictures that you took on WPPD.  I should mention this, be sure to test your pinhole camera before WPPD.  It would be a real bummer if you waited until the very last minute and then you found out your pinhole camera is a piece of crap, or you used it wrong and your exposure is all crazy.  Test, test, test and your submissions will be all the better for it.

All of the pictures below were taken within the last week and half.  Some were made with the Bell and Howell Pinhole Camera I made a few weeks ago and some were taken with a similar camera made from a Vivitar PN2011.

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3 Responses to Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

  1. It took 2 decades of meditation, yoga and all sorts of strange experiments to
    discover it, but I did. Do you avoid going places and doing
    exciting things because you concern yourself with
    how many other people may think about you. It is really essential don’t make webcam shots of yourself,
    or take pictures within the mirror.

  2. Ruthie Chatterson on 16 December 2010 at 10:15 am

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m trying to achieve my goals. I absolutely love reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the posts coming. I enjoyed it!

  3. berkshire wedding photographer on 13 May 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Marvelous! I’m very envious of those photos, I wish I could do as well.Those photos took a lot of ability to make, well done. I’ve bookmarked this site.

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