The day I was introduced to pinhole photography I thought it was something absolutely magical. Are you saying that I can take a picture with an empty coke can? The answer was ‘yes’. My curiosity was in ‘crescendo’ and I joined a workshop in Murcia where I was taught to build my own camera and I was instructed on some simple rules.
For those of you starting to feel the same interest I will give you some technical details in order to be able to create these astonishing images.
A pinhole camera is any light, tight container with an aperture (hole) and a shutter, something to cover the hole, normally a black tape. It works the same way as a camera obscura, you simply add light sensitive paper or film on the back wall across from the pinhole and a shutter or way to stop the light.
There is no lens on the camera, just a tiny hole to let light pass through an improvised camera body to film. Pinhole photography requires long exposure times due to a fixed aperture. It tends to have elegant imperfections and, for this same reason, objects in movement appear blurred .If the object moves fast it won’t appear on the film. With these cameras there is a fair bit of guessing as to what your composition could be.
Pinhole photographs have a soft, dreamlike quality, contrasted with the clear, sharp pictures that expensive cameras and lenses can take.
This technique creates the peculiar world I want to live in where images achieve a kind of focus without sharpness. I strive to re-imagine everyday life with my funny little cans with no lens.
I’ve provided a couple of images for this article. One of them is an example of a homemade camera, so simple, so unique and so cheap! The other is a picture I took a few years back in Cieza in a cold fall. Two nice men, probably neighbours, were sitting next to each other and chatting in a quite beautiful area. I briefly glimpsed the relationship between man and nature when I saw them, so I stayed behind them for a few seconds and I got the picture. A lovely memory from an unforgettable day.
María Belén Campillo Iniesta
Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Murcia