I Spy, with my little EYE : World Wide Pinhole Day, April 26, 2015


Pinholers around the world were awaiting today with great  anticipation….I know you probably felt the excitement in the air….

Oh. You hadn't noticed?

Well, we are a small dedicated band of image-makers, but the trend continues to grow. DIY camera builders the world over are, as I write this, posting their images on http://pinholeday.org (255 image-makers had posted as of 1330 EST). Mostly the images coming in are from the other side of the world, Russia, Thailand, New Zealand, Estonia, Europe and Great Britain….I saw one from Salt Lake City, with a digital camera with a pinhole cap. I can't argue with digital, I have a cap for my LUMIX, but I still feel/see the difference in the images made on film or paper, and those images won't get posted until they have been shot, the film has been processed,  dried, and then printed or scanned to show the positive….that will take Americans a few more hours to get their work up. (We have until May 31 to post)

Admittedly, a quick scan through the 255 images reveal very few beautiful or arresting images…but this seems okay. Today is not about making an artistic masterpiece, it is about being part of a collective effort to draw attention to the magic of photographs. At a time when we humans could not digest more images, making your own camera with very simple means and making an image is a delightful form of rebellion. It is SLOW for one thing. Pinhole images require time: anywhere from a few seconds to a few months!

In my Fair Isle series (on this website), I pose for 8 to 10 minutes to get the exposure.

A recent show of solargraphs here in Maine will offer a glimpse at months-long exposures:

Okay, you are intrigued, but don't know how to make a camera?! So glad you asked:


Film and paper are still available from places like B&H in New York. And if you have a local camera store, they will have what you need to start making pictures…

If you are tired of the pace of things, slow down, assemble what you need, invite your friends, make some cameras, and play. The beauty of pinhole is the time and intention required. Make it your meditation practice for the day and join people all over the world in slowing down.

Have fun! 

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