A Pinhole Summer

2 min read by kelleedonnelly. Published in Film, Photography.
With my pinhole, everything is harder, more valuable, more thought-provoking. But also, more memorable.

This summer I went back to basics to learn about photography. I bought a pinhole camera.

When I was a kid my dad bought me a film point-and-shoot. It was a 35mm Canon with auto flash, auto exposure, autofocus. Just one button. He soon got tired of replacing batteries and reloading my film; I understand, as a ten-year-old, I took photos of feet, dogs, and accidental exposures. Not long after, when digital cameras became affordable we had one, and I claimed it.

Since then taking photographs has been my simple way to record life. People, animals, backyards, memories.

With the rediscovery of film, my subject hasn’t changed, though I got a new cost perspective. With a pinhole, every photo takes work and time to get right; then again, it’s very likely to look different from what I’d imagine. Film development isn’t free, neither is scanning — just to get it back onto a screen. With that, the mistakes that come with wrong light measurements are more costly as they are also harder to control. The looks from strangers who can’t work out whether I am holding an old radio or a brick are, of course, priceless.

With my pinhole, everything is harder, more valuable, more thought-provoking. But also, more memorable.

When I look at the images I took this summer with my Ondu 6x12 Multiformat the feeling that I had while taking each shot comes rushing back. With my pinhole and a few rolls of film.

The photo at the very top was taken on Kodak Ektar with a shutter held open for fifteen seconds. The next one, above, on Ilford XP-2 at five seconds.