Chemistry of Photography – Tuesday-
Film Canister Pinhole Cameras
These photos are pictures I took with a film canister pinhole camera. I actually have some I like even better, but I have placed them in a “special” place. One that I can’t find.
The photo on the left shows a person in front of shelves of pottery. On the right the images are of ceramic sphere scultpures.
Pinhole pictures are primitive and can be addictive when you find yourself looking at all kinds of boxes, going “what if.”
My Tuesday Chemistry of Photography class was pinhole camera day. I love to use a pinhole camera and, during KEY camp, I had a constant supply of loaded cameras at hand. The students made and used two pinhole cameras. One was made out of black film canisters and the other was made out of a small size Pringle can (which I will write about later).
A professional photographer friend saved his black film canisters. That might be a problem now, as the world moves to digital. Each camera took two canisters.
Canister one: The students paint a small circle or square of liquid white out on the side, centered, and put a pinhole in the center of it. This made it easier to find the hole. I think I had two sizes of needles that I used. The directions state an 0.4 mm pinhole. On the bottom of this canister they made a line with white out to line up with the hole they put in. This is the camera.
Canister two: The lid of this one was discarded. The bottom cut off and a steak knife was used to cut a straight line through the side. This is the shutter. It spreads enough, when you place it over the camera, that when you twist it, it will expose the hole, and take a picture.
I cut squares of print paper ahead of time and had loaded a bunch in the dark loading bag. I did not ration these out. They are so small that, a Jr High student will be bored before they reach their limit, unless they are so excited about it that you are thrilled they want more paper.
When doing this with a class, the thing to remember is to put a black marker in the bag. As each student hands you their camera, you have them tell you their initials. Print paper in hand, you write their initials on the back of the paper and take the camera into the dark bag and load it in their camera. Put the lid back on tight and make sure the shutter covers the hole. It’s good to have one thumb over that hole when you put the camera in your bag. They can then check that mark they made on the bottom to see where the hole is on the side.
They have already developed paper from day one, so they can develop and leave their pictures in the stop bath and get back in line for a new paper.
Images are a bit surreal and fuzzy at times. If you google pinhole cameras, you can find some fun stuff. Han Wolff took a pinhole pic of the Eiffel Tower that is a great design.