Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pinhole Photography


Throughout this experience, I have learned an abundance of things about pinhole photography. First, I learned the scientific and historic aspects of pinhole photography and why it works. Also in the more scientific realm, I learned the purpose and importance of each of the chemicals we put the photos into in order to develop them. Secondly, through extensive trial and error, I learned a lot about exposure throughout my time doing this project. The biggest thing I learned is that there is not one constant exposure time that you can use all the time. Instead, you have to adjust your exposure time taking into account multiple different factors such as light and the size of your pinhole. In all, Roya and I usually took several pictures in the same spot, but we changed the exposure time, always learning from the last, in order to perfect the lighting of our photo. Lastly, I learned about the dark room process of both making negatives and positives. If I had to take one thing away from my darkroom experience, it would be that it is absolutely vital that it is actually dark. If your image is exposed to white light before it has gone through the developer, the stop bath, and 45 seconds in the fixer, it could ruin it.

Personally, I think the most exciting part of this assignment was watching my photo develop into a negative. Even after you take your photo, go into the dark room, and remove your paper from the can, the paper is still blank. Pinhole photography has a lot of elements that you attempt to do properly without truly knowing how it is going to turn out.  For example, exposure time was very hard to master. I love developing the photos because you are either happy with your product, or you can learn from your mistakes. If your photo turns out too bright, you know that you need to increase your exposure time, and if it is too dark, you know to decrease it. If I had to choose a single moment I looked forward to the most in this assignment, it would be the second I flip my photo over after it has been in the developer for 1 minute. I see this as the "make it or break it" moment where I always find myself crossing my fingers for a good product. Although the photo is not completely done developing, after you take it out of the developer, you can get a general sense of whether or not you were successful. There is no better feeling that flipping it over to transfer it from the developer to the stop bath and having the lighting be perfect and your subject exactly where you wanted.

For me, the most challenging part of this assignment was actually coming up with ideas of what the photograph. One of my personal favorite things to do when I photograph images is to mix up the perspectives to make my images more interesting. I couldn't do this as much as I usually do when I used the pinhole cameras because I was limited by the fact that I couldn't hold the camera. Rather, it had to be set on a flat surface and face straight ahead. As this limited me to capturing my subjects face on usually at eye level, I had to employ my creativity in other ways, which was kind of difficult for me. One of the ways I did this was by using ghosting. I found ghosting to be a very interesting concept that was hard to achieve but looked very cool if done correctly. Another thing I tried to do what create a bit of an optical illusion. Since pinhole images of people are often a little bit blurry because it is nearly impossible for someone to be completely still for your entire exposure time, I took advantage of this and the fact that there was a little wiggle room for imperfections and attempted to "combine" multiple people into one person. I put one person in the front and two behind her with their arms out so, all layered together, it looked like the person in the from thad 6 arms. Using a normal camera, you would be able to see if the people did not line up perfectly and it would be obvious that it was simply 3 stacked people, but I think using the pinhole camera made it a very cool image.

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