Projects and ponderings for film photographers

Archive for April, 2011

Worldwide Pinhole Day

I wanted to make a quick post and remind everyone that Sunday, 24 April 2011 is Worldwide Pinhole Day. This is a celebration of pinhole photography, where you (and thousands of others) get out and make a pinhole-camera image on one particular day; then submit it to the WWPD website. (There is also a less active Flickr group, too.)

Perky Pinhole

The “perky pinhole.” Yes, it really works.

Longtime readers of will know that pinhole photography is dear to my heart. (You can see some of my own pinhole images here. I have to admit that the pinhole mood strikes me randomly; I’ve been a bit erratic at observing the “official” date over the years.)

The other evening I saw some very beautiful work that a friend made using the Holga wide-angle pinhole camera. Still, I can’t help finding it preposterous that a hollow plastic box should cost almost sixty dollars. The whole beauty of pinhole cameras is that they’re so simple anyone can build one for themselves. All kinds of designs are possible, and Flickr’s Homemade Pinhole group will give you more inspiration. The only possibly-tricky aspect to building a camera is poking the pinhole itself, but my own how-to instructions should get you over that part if need be.

As part of my new activities, I had a chance to completely revise our wiki article “Pinhole camera,” and add a new one, “Homemade pinhole camera.” The second article gives some general design guidance for pinhole cameras, but isn’t a step-by-step project like my posts here on Silverbased.

A few folks have seen the Pin-O-Rama design I did for MAKE magazine a few years ago. This is a pinhole camera which wraps 120 film around a curved film gate, giving an image 6×12 cm and more than 100° wide—the resulting photos are pretty entertaining. For some mysterious copyright-violating reason, the entire article is available as a PDF file here. But be sure to check out the errata on MAKE’s talkback page.

But whether you build something from scratch, hack up some old unused camera, or just go buy one of the commercial pinhole cameras now on the market, I hope this year you’ll give pinhole photography a whirl.