It is our experience that a pinhole photograph is both less and more than any other kind of image. It is less technology, less frills; more time, more photo.
It’s a different kind of photography effort than what we understand today. In a world where images are snapped and deleted thoughtlessly, each and every pinhole photograph takes a large amount of intention, preparation, labor, cost. All the elements that have to line up for an image to succeed – the angle/framing, the light/exposure, the science of chemicals in our bathtub. For one good shot, there have been so many failures.
With nothing more than a tin can, we capture a more than a brief second, but a pocket of time. A pinhole photograph is unique in that its long exposure does more than simply reflect life: it contains life. So much more happened during that opening of the shutter. So much more light shined, wind blew, creatures lived and died. For us it is a poignant reminder of our own impermanence, our own mortality: as objects in motion – people, creatures, vehicles, blades of grass and branches – pass by, the pinhole camera absorbs their existence but often doesn’t record it as more than a streak or flutter.
Creating a pinhole image can feel quite a spiritual ritual in many ways; a meditation of sorts. This practice gives us a chance to really notice something about our world. A building. A boat. The sand. Earth. Grass. We walk down pathways and sidewalks we haven’t ventured down before. We investigate such like worms and stones and disembodied crab legs.
It also gives us the chance to create something to leave behind us, to commemorate this unique moment in our lives, to celebrate and appreciate and acknowledge our environment.
It feels to us that each of these photos are little lives of their own. And we are there, living too. And our children are there, living, often running around the camera or even in front of it, not staying still long enough to really register on the paper. But they are there. They are alive in these photos too. And so are you.